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Pakistan`s brown rice exports to EU down by 52,000 tons
Pakistan's export of brown rice to European Union (EU) member countries dropped significantly in the last two years in the wake of adoption of an imported DNA testing protocol.

Informed sources told on Thursday that the immediate impact of this protocol was that Pakistani basmati exporters were being penalised on the threat of DNA testing, while Indian exporters happily continue to increase their exports based on traditional method of testing.

The statistics showed that the export of brown rice to EU member countries dipped to 38,000 tons during the last year as against 90,000 tons exported in the previous year apparently due to the controversial DNA testing protocol provided by the Pakistan government to the European Commission (EC).

When contacted, Secretary Ministry of Food and Agriculture M Ismail Qureshi confirmed that Pakistan had provided a protocol to the EC for DNA testing.

"We are well-equipped for the DNA testing. The EU team would come and would check the concept and process of the DNA testing," he added.

Under the agreement reached among Pakistan, the EU and India, it was decided that each partner would work out its own indigenous DNA testing protocol for seeking duty exemption on export of basmati to the EU member countries during the year 2004.

The sources said that Pakistan unable to develop its own indigenous DNA testing protocol had adopted an overseas protocol for rice as an interim measure, which Pakistani authorities had provided to the EC.

The sources said that while Pakistan continued to provide DNA reports to the EU customs authorities, which according to traders is a controversial DNA testing protocol.

It has been rejected by "our basmati competitors" in India. In the meantime, the sources said India provided an indigenous protocol to the EU, which was under negotiation over the last one year.

"India has not provided any DNA testing report to EU customs authorities claiming that they would provide an officially DNA testing protocol to be agreed between the two sides," the sources said.

"It is not possible to abide by all the rules and regulations mentioned in the protocol, which were for the original country of the protocol. These can be changed any time," a leading rice exporter told on condition of anonymity.
MGR Archive 16.11.2006
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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