LAHORE - A high-level delegation of the United States furniture manufacturers will visit Pakistan for five days from August 21 to tap new prospects of mutual investment in the field of furniture industry and further strengthen the existing bilateral trade relations with Pakistani counterparts.

This was disclosed by Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) chief Kashif Ashfaq on his returning home after two-week visit to the US as head of delegation. He termed his visit most successful as majority of the US furniture manufacturers in business-to-business meetings have shown keen interest in Pakistani handmade furniture products and desired for joint venture and investment .He said that the interested investors were invited to visit Pakistan and PFC will extend all out assistance and professional cooperation besides making arrangements for direct interaction with Pakistani furniture manufacturers in addition to fully fledged facilitation to them.

The US delegation comprising Bilal Saglam and Gizem Cigdem from the US leading furniture brand Ashley Furniture Industries will have one-on-one series of meetings with their counterparts and visit furniture factory at Kurrianwala, Faisalabad. He said that a reception will also be hosted in honour of visiting delegation for business-to-business meetings with Pakistani furniture manufacturers .

Kashif said Ashley is the world’s largest manufacturer of furniture with having $4.6 billion revenue and more than 26,000 plus worldwide employees. He said, “It is the honour for our country that such big company wanted to strengthen bilateral trade with Pakistan .” He said total world trade in furniture is estimated to be in the tune of $23.2 billion, of which the share of wooden furniture is 77 percent, followed by metal furniture at 17 percent and plastic furniture at 6 percent. Italy is the world’s biggest exporter of furniture followed by Germany and Canada. The United States is the biggest importer of wooden furniture followed by Germany and France.

He said Pakistan’s share in the international wooden furniture market is insignificant, despite the fact that the country has a history of craftsmanship and innovation in the field of wooden furniture . He pointed that furniture exports from Pakistan were hovering between $8 million to $12 million per annum, which did not reflect even a friction of the actual potential of the furniture industry.