Pakistan is on the point of achieving significant success in the global salt trade as the local rock salt ‘Khwera’ is about to be registered with the international trade bodies.
According to the details, after this move, Indian traders will not be able to sell Pakistani rock salt Khwera as ‘Himalayan Pink Salt’.
The Federal Cabinet has recently approved that the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) will be the registered agency for mountain salt produced in the country.
The PMDC has finalized all the legal requirements for registration under the Geographical Indications (GI) administered and controlled by the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan).
Under IPO Pakistan, the country will submit its application for entry into foreign markets.
In January this year, the country enacted GI rules that had been pending for nearly two decades, but traders from neighbouring India took advantage of the gap and applied for GI tagging of basmati rice in the European Union.
PMDC Managing Director (Retd) Brigade M Iqbal Malik said that Pakistan has declared Khwera salt as ‘Pink Rock Salt’ and its properties are being finalized.
He said that at present rock salt was a profitable commodity for exports and Pakistan mountain salt was not being sold as a commercial and industrial product.
He said that immediately after the tagging of GI in the international markets, Pakistan would be in a position to enter into long-term sales agreements with overseas buyers.
Coincidentally, the term has been used by Indian traders to refer to the global marketing of rock salt from Khewra.
However, the export of salt to India has also suspended after the suspension of non-essential goods trade with India about two years ago.
There is no sales policy for rock salt, so most of the salt is exported from the Middle East in mountain form.
Note that rock salt was in high demand globally, not only as table salt but also as a healing agent in massage centres in Korea and Thailand.
The salt business was in the hands of small traders and investment was required for packing and other value addition but without any policy, small traders could not take loans from banks.
Indian traders prepare the salt purchased through the United Arab Emirates in attractive packaging and export it at a high price to the European Union, the United States and even the Far East. The label states that the salt is a product of the Indian Himalayas.