Awareness of Geographical Indications (GIs) has increased lately particularly owing to UK / EU negotiations relating to Brexit.

As the WIPO tells us, GI’s are signs used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.  

Us foodies love to know our Champagne, Stilton, Darjeeling and Parma Ham are the “real McCoy” …no pun on the potato crisps…other brands are available.

News now reaches us of an EU dispute between Pakistan and India, in relation to BASMATI rice, seemingly ready to rapidly boil over.

Pakistan’s government has vowed to “vehemently” oppose a GI application in the EU by India, for sole geographic recognition for the aromatic rice, as being grown exclusively in specific regions of the Indian subcontinent. The GI application stating:

The special characteristic of basmati is grown and produced in all districts of the state of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, as well as in specific districts of western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir

This is not just a naming dispute, but important economically and financially too.

Since 2006, the EU has applied zero tariffs on rice imported into the bloc’s Member States that has been authenticated by either Pakistani or Indian authorities as being truly Basmati. Interestingly, per the link below, it also appears that the price of Darjeeling tea soared after 2011 when West Bengal was given the exclusive right to carry the name on packets of its leaves.

The EU Commission has so far stated that it has simply published the application which gives the opportunity for stakeholders to lodge oppositions for a three-month period.

More follows…  in the meantime, apparently, rice helps improve your memory. Just some food for thought…