KARACHI: A leading chamber of businessmen and traders has called on the government to immediately implement the Geographical Indication Protection Law, designed in 2001 with the objective of shielding Pakistan’s products and getting fair prices in the international market.

“Absence of the Geographical Indication Protection Law has already caused losses of millions of rupees to Pakistan’s economy as the country has not been able to fetch good prices for its products in the world market,” said Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Senior Vice President Shaikh Khalid Tawab in a statement.

Neighbouring India implemented the law in 2003 and since then it has given protection to its 220 products whereas the Central and South American region has protected its 400 products. Even the African region has registered a product through geographical indication.

Geographical indication is a sign on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities due to that origin.

Tawab pointed out that Pakistan and India were engaged in a tough competition because of common history and civilisation and in the past Pakistan had lost its basmati rice market due to the absence of geographical indication.

On the other hand, India has gained greater market access and has grabbed Pakistan’s share.

Saying that Pakistan had been blessed with diverse geography, climate, soil, culture and traditions, he stressed that many of Pakistan’s products related to the agriculture and manufacturing sectors qualified for protection under geographical indication.

Sindhri mangoes, green cardamom, Khairpur Aseel dates, Hunza apricots, Hala handicrafts, Khanpur oranges, Chiniot furniture and Sindhi Ajrak and cap are some of the unique products that can be protected under the law.

This will promote economic development, particularly the development of rural areas, and help enhance export earnings.