Local rock salt of Khewra is going to be registered with international trade bodies, taking Pakistan to the lead in the global salt trade.
Pakistan is close to taking the lead in the global salt trade. This will prevent Indian traders to market Pakistani rock salt as Himalayan Pink Salt.
Moreover, the federal cabinet recently approved that Pakistan Minerals Development Corporation (PMDC) will be the registrant agency for rock salt produced in the country. All requirements have been finalized by the PMDC for registration of rock salt with the Geographical Indications (GI) registry, under the management and control of Intellectual Property Organizational Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan).
After registration with IPO-Pakistan, the country will file for registration at foreign markets.
The GI rules were declared in January in 2021 in the country that had been pending for around two decades. However, traders from neighboring India took advantage of the void and applied for GI tagging of Basmati rice in the European Union, claiming that it was agricultural produce of India.
PMDC Managing Director retired Brig M. Iqbal Malik said that Pakistan has branded the Khewra salt as “Pink Rock Salt” and its specifications were being finalized.
“Currently, rock salt was neither a lucrative commodity for exports nor was Pakistan selling the rock salt as a commercial and industrial product,” he said, adding: “Soon after the GI tagging at international markets, Pakistan will be in a position to sign long term sale contracts with buyers abroad.”
Since, there is no sale policy regarding rock salt, most of the rock salt was exported in rock form to the Middle East for exports. A Karachi-based salt trader Ahmed Khan said there is a very high global demand for rock salt, not only as table salt but even as a healing agent by massage centers of Korea and Thailand to other industrial usages.
He added, “Most of the salt business was in the hands of small traders and investment was needed for packing and other value addition, but without any policy small traders cannot get bank loans and so on.”