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India to Get Exclusive Rights to Sell Basmati Rice in European Union

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Rice

According to experts, India is likely to get the exclusive right to the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag for Basmati rice in the European Union (EU) once the deadline for resolving the dispute with Pakistan expires on September 10th.
It will offer New Delhi exclusive rights to market the fragrant rice as “Basmati” rice in the EU, deterring other countries, namely Pakistan, from marketing the food grain as “Basmati.”

“The current technical circumstances strongly suggest that India would emerge in the Basmati GI tag case at the European Commission,” said S .Chandrasekaran, a trade analyst and author of the book Basmati Rice: The Natural History Geographical Indication.

One of the core issues in India's favor is that Pakistan has merely submitted its opposition to the issuance of the GI tag to India, rather than an application for the exclusive indication tag.

APEDA’s Victory:

“Pakistan is playing a losing game,” the expert stated.

This would also be a victory for the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which owns the GI tag and has been battling India's cause in international forums.
It is now being speculated that the issue will be brought before an EU court.

According to Dubai-based international global intellectual property attorneys, United Trademark and Services, if India and Pakistan fail to reach a deal and the EU decides in favor of either side, the issue might end up before the European Court.

On the other side, India and the EU have initiated negotiations for a free trade deal, which is expected to be concluded shortly. In this context, India would receive the GI tag from the Union as soon as possible.

Background

The EU granted a notification of India's application for a GI tag for its Basmati rice on September 11, last year. Parties opposing the application, including nations, have time until December 10 to file objections. Pakistan took advantage of the opportunity to express its opposition to the issuance of the GI tag.

Following that, India and Pakistan had six months to resolve the problem peacefully, but this did not happen. New Delhi then requested a further extension of the time limit, which was set to expire on September 10.

Egypt slams Indian Basmati rice shipments.

“Since India requested more time for further consultation, it is evident that it desired to resolve the matter amicably and responsibly. “It appears that India and Pakistan did not achieve an agreement throughout the consultation process,” said S Chandrasekaran.

According to him, India filed the appeal for GI tag for its Basmati rice on July 18, 2018. The notification on India's application, on the other hand, was only released last year.

Next Logical Step

The next logical step for the EU, according to Chandrasekaran, is to enact “implementing acts” on GI tag registration. This would imply that the Union voiced its view with a majority. However, in this situation, “Basmati” does not indicate a region.

He stated that the EU has ruled in favor of Croatia in several trans border GI concerns for "political reasons." In the Collio PDO (protected designation of origin) issue, on the other hand, the EU rigorously adhered to the region of cultivation, despite Slovenia's push for expansion of the area. This case is equitable to the Basmati GI case.

In its application for the GI label, India needed the long-grain fragrant rice be treated as a product from seven of its states. It sought exclusive rights to market Basmati in the EU member territories.

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