Indo-Pak officials meet to prevent Basmati rice being imitated

Indo-Pak officials meet to prevent Basmati rice being imitated
Islamabad, Nov 7 (PTI) Indian and Pakistani officials began talks here today on a joint move for registering the "Geographical Indication" of basmati rice in the US and Europe to prevent the product from being imitated by other countries.

This is the second meeting of the Joint Working Group of the two countries on basmati rice. The group first met in New Delhi in April.

"The meeting strived to reach possible grounds on definition of basmati on the basis of mutually accepted parameters, defining basmati-growing areas in both countries and a system of checks and measures to deter third party use of basmati," said an official statement issued by the Pakistan government.

The talks will conclude tomorrow. Joint Secretary (Commerce) Azhar Ali Chaudhri headed the Pakistani delegation while Joint Secretary Danesh Sharma led the Indian side.

India and Pakistan plan to jointly register the Geographical Indication (GI) of basmati rice under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act. Sources said today's meeting took up some issues that had remained unresolved in the previous round of talks.

GI is given to products with a reputation attributable to its place of origin or the area where it is manufactured or grown. GI is highlighted during marketing to fetch a higher value.

India and Pakistan started consultations several years ago to prepare a common strategy to register basmati but have failed to reach common ground so far. The two countries were also involved in a row over basmati after Pakistan objected to India's efforts to market a variety known as "super basmati".

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