Federal Minister for Commerce Engr Khurram Dastgir said here that the draft of proposed `geographical indication law’ has almost been finalised and it will soon be presented in the National Assembly for approval. The proposed law is aimed at supporting rice exporters in getting Pakistani rice brands registered in the international markets, he added.
He was speaking at the annual dinner of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) on Wednesday. REAP’s chairman Rafique Suleman, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan’s CEO S.M. Muneer, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (FPCCI) president Mian Adress, senior vice president Rahim Jano were present on the occasion. The minister said that Pakistani rice exporters in the absence of `geographical indication law’ are facing difficulties in getting their Basmati brands registered in leading importing countries, while their competitors are capturing the market by registering their Basmati rice brands.
He hoped that the exports of the commodity will get a boost with the adoption of the proposed law. Moreover, the federal government with a view to providing long-term trade policies to exporters was also working on 3-year trade strategic framework (2015-2018) and the same is expected to be announced shortly, he added.
The minister disclosed that the government was actively considering trade policy and a special package for exporters and trade and industry and the same would be announced shortly by prime minister. Reiterating that the government was fully committed to facilitate trade and industry, the minister referred to the prime minister’s recent meeting with all stakeholders for the solution of their issues.
He said that the country’s economy despite challenges was moving in the right direction and in this he referred to the agreements made with China for investing $46 billion in Pakistan in the next few years. Highlighting the importance of research and development work, the minister said that the federal government has decided to reconstitute the boards of Dokri and Kala Shah Kako research institutes and now rice and other stakeholders will be given due representation on the boards.
Urging the rice exporters for value addition and meeting international quality standards for higher exports, the minister said Pakistan was losing markets due to lack of appropriate marketing and hence the need of the hour is to focus on China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and other emerging markets. He asked the rice exporters to send their high-level trade delegations for marketing and exploring these markets. About the efforts being made by ministry of commerce for enhancing the country’s exports, the minister said that the issue of rice export will be discussed with Chinese Minister of Commerce on October 16. Moreover, banking channels between Pakistan and Iran are also likely to be reopened shortly as the United States has already lifted sanctions against Iran, he added.
Earlier, REAP chairman Rafique Suleman informed the minister that traders of rice were facing multiple issues including that of low commodity price in the world market and higher cost of doing business. He said that Pakistan was unable to introduce new varieties of rice due to lack of research and development activities in the rice sector.