Senate committee reviews Geographical Indications law

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile Industry on Thursday reviewed the Geographical Indications (Registration & Protection) Bill 2019 and agreed to finalise it in the meeting next week.

The meeting was chaired by Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi who said the issue has been pending since the committee was formed in March, 2018.

Senator Shibli Faraz remarked that it is beyond comprehension as to why Pakistan has taken so long to come up with legislation on geographical indicators (GIs).

Intellectual Property Organisation Pakistan Chairman Mujeeb Ahmed Khan briefed the committee that delays were mainly procedural and the work on latest draft initiated in 2016. The draft was approved by the cabinet in August 2019 which was subsequently laid in the senate this month. The GIs identify products with specific geographical origin and possess qualities or reputation attributable to that place. These generally include agricultural, traditional or manufactured products.

These are essential to protect indigenous products and promote them worldwide as ‘made in Pakistan’. The list of products identified in the law include Khewra salt, basmati rice, Kohat shawl, Hunza ruby, Skardu topaz, Multan camel skin art, Patuki floriculture, Mansehra tea, Sahiwal cattle, truck art, Wazirabad cutlery work, Sindhi topi, Sialkot sports goods, Hala coloured Pottery, Kashmir pashmina, among many others prospective GIs.

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