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Basmati battle: Pakistan fights Indian bid for EU recognition of rice | Indo-Pak

Basmati Battle


 A new ingredient has been added to the boiling pot between India and Pakistan: basmati rice. The Pakistani government has vowed to "oppose" India's request that the spice-rich rice is approved by the EU as being grown exclusively in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent.

Since 2006, the EU has used tariffs on rice imported into this blog certified by Pakistani or Indian authorities as real basmati. About two-thirds of basmati imports into the EU come from India and the rest comes from its northern neighbor.

The Indian government's government's application for the local environment (GI) for domestic production has raised alarms at Pakistan's top government.

"The unique element of the basmati is developed and created in all the territories of the province of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and in specific locales west of Uttar Pradesh and also in Jammu and Kashmir," said the Indian application.

GI status is used to brand a product to consumers such as "it has qualities, reputation, or features related to its origin". In Europe, products such as Parma ham, champagne, and stilton cheese have a similar effect, allowing producers from affected regions to charge higher prices.

The price of Darjeeling tea rose after 2011 when the Indian state of West Bengal was granted the exclusive right to carry the name on its leaf pockets.

GI status offers only Indian basmati rice can be a hammer blow to Pakistani traders. India's request has prompted an emergency meeting of the Pakistani trade secretary, chairman of the established goods association, representatives of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, and senior government legal advisers.

Abdul Razak Dawood, a counselor to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, later said the request would be "strongly opposed". The official opposition is expected before the EU deadline in December.

The export of basmati rice to Pakistan in the EU has doubled in the past three years, from 120,000 metric tons in 2017 to 300,000 metric tons in 2019, according to the European Commission.

Export sales of basmati rice in India have declined due to the failure of its producers to meet EU standards strictly on the use of pesticides.

A growing number of Indian basmati exports are to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern countries - a practice New Delhi seeks to reverse.

A representative for the European Commission stated: "The commission has distributed an application for the enlistment of the word' basmati 'from India as an indication of a protected zone. This publication provides an opportunity for participants to file a complaint within three months.

“This publication does not refer to the registration of 'basmati' but is a step in the normal process of registration of geographical indicators. The final decision to register is taken only after the opposition phase has been finalized. This allows the rights of all parties to be respected during registration.

"In the event that a resistance is found from any party, the commission will guarantee that it is considered as per set up systems, to guarantee that the privileges of all parties are exceptionally regarded."



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