Geographical Indicator Bill for made in Pakistan products approved.

Islamabad: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile recently announced its decision to approve the much-awaited Geographical Indications (GI) Bill, 2019 — with the new regulation aimed at protecting the commercial heritage of goods produced within the country, according to new sources.

The legislation was first introduced some 18 years ago and has been awaiting approval ever since. After the senate body’s approval, the bill will now be presented before the upper parliament house for its approval; after which it will be sent to the National Assembly for further deliberation.

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The Senate committee was chaired by Senator Mirza Muhamamd Afridi. During the meeting, Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Chairman Pakistan Mujeeb Ahmed Khan said that this bill was deliberated-upon in great detail. He added that after the law has been accepted by the parliament, it will prove to be beneficial for exporters, traders, and growers.

Earlier, the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) green-lighted the draft of this legislation. Upon the passing of the bill, Pakistan will be able to claim and use GI for any locally made consumer goods.

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The committee members suggested that the Commerce Ministry and IPO should add products’ protection under the new GI legislation while keeping climate change factors in mind.

Currently, multiple international brands are selling Pakistan-origin products (Peshawari Chappals, Basmati Rice, etc.) while depriving Pakistan of getting premium on its GIs in the global market. The new law entails that once GI is registered, an infringement action can be launched by both the registrant and authorized users. Around 121 countries have approved their GI laws already.