LAHORE: Pakistan fetches $10.2 billion of its $12.5 billion textile export revenue from 20 countries. However, it accounts for merely 5.7 percent of their total textile imports, suggested an analysis of the trade statistics of last fiscal year.
The United States is the largest importer of textiles and clothing from Pakistan, importing $2.98 billion worth of textiles in 2011-12, which was 24.1 percent of total Pakistan’s textile exports. However, these exports were equivalent to only 2.98 percent of total US textile imports of $100.93 billion.
Industry players point out that Pakistan’s share in the US textile market has been continuing to decline in recent years.
“We lost many corporate US buyers during recent years and the exports were maintained at past level by luring new buyers,” said Adil Butt, chairman of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association, Punjab, here on Saturday.
He said if we could lure back buyers lost due to bad image of the country and travel advisories issued by the US government we could simply double our exports to the US market.
Further, China is the second largest buyer of Pakistani textiles, importing $1.527 billion of textiles last fiscal. Unlike the United States where mostly value added textiles are imported, Chinese buy only cotton yarn and cotton fabric from Pakistan.
“The textile exports to China could be tripled with better understanding of Chinese market,” said Gohar Ejaz, group leader of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.
He said under free trade agreement the Chinese government provides several concessions to Pakistan that our entrepreneurs have failed to avail. He said for instance there is no duty levied by China on Pakistani bed wear. Pakistan is the cheapest supplier of cotton bed wear in the world but “we have not exported even a single bed sheet to China”.
“Pakistani entrepreneurs have never explored the Chinese bed wear and home textiles market,” he said, adding that they have no idea about designs, sizes and colors popular in China in home textiles.
He said China could be a big market for our home textiles if entrepreneurs overcome language barriers and do proper home work. As far as cotton yarn and fabric are concerned, the demand in China is unlimited. “Our production is limited due to energy shortages and orders that we cannot execute are being diverted to India,” he added.
He said Pakistan’s textiles account for only 12.4 percent of total Chinese textile imports of $37.19 billion. European Union as a block accounts for $3.6 billion textile exports from Pakistan led by the United Kingdom that imports $951 million worth of textiles and clothing from Pakistan, which is 7.7 percent of total textile exports of Pakistan but only 3.03 percent of $32.39 billion textile imports of UK.
Similarly, Pakistan’s textile exports to Germany are worth $809 million, being 6.5 percent of total textile exports from Pakistan and 1.6 percent of $55.14 billion textile imports of Germany.
Leading knitwear exporter M I Khurram said that Pakistani exports to EU are limited due to high duties imposed by the trading block on Pakistani textiles. He hoped that Pakistan would get generalized system of preferences (GSP) plus status in 2014 after which there would be an appreciable surge in value-added textile exports from Pakistan.
In fact, developed economies have lucrative value-added textile markets, while demand for yarn and fabric in these markets is waning.
Bangladesh imports $520 million (4.2 percent) of Pakistani textiles, which is $2.57 billion (5.53 percent) of Bangladesh’s textile imports. Other top importers include Belgium, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, UAE, France, Turkey, South Africa, Vietnam, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, India and Kenya.
Interestingly, India is the 19th largest importer of Pakistani textiles worth $88.8 million in FY12, 0.7 percent of Pakistani textile exports and 0.8 percent of India’s total textile imports of $4.155 billion.