LAHORE: Italian furniture experts will visit Pakistan soon to impart modern techniques to local artisans engaged in furniture industry to meet the challenges of the international markets.

Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq while talking to media here Wednesday said PFC is collaborating with Italian companies of international repute for proper advanced technical training to local workers and initially 500 workers drawn from across the country will be trained in the short duration training programme in different batches..

The Italian experts will also conduct one-day workshop one each at Lahore, Peshawar, Chinnot, Gujrat, Faisalabad and Karachi for briefing the manufacturers about the latest furniture designs popular in global furniture industry, besides, highlighting the importance of the application of modern techniques in furniture industry.

He said to increase the country’s furniture exports, the manufacturers need to be offered tax and credit package of incentives for acquiring new technologies and to grow big enough to sustain global competition from their rivals in the international market.

He said the expensive imported raw materials and energy costs are one of the major hurdles for furniture manufacturers to compete with much cheaper imports from China and India.

Mian Kashif urged the government to establish greater liaison with this sector to fully understand the market conditions and its requirements needs to protect, develop and promote on sound footings . He said the government should also provide more visible support to furniture business for exhibiting and travelling to trade shows and promoting Pak export as a success globally.

He said the Pakistan furniture industry has the potential to be a substantial one at multiple levels as it can contribute significantly to the GDP and employ numerous people with varying skills in specialist furniture.” government support as we believe it could generate at least $10 billion in exports in one decade if the requisite processes get streamlined,” adding he said the main issue is the dearth of middle management and nearly no proper institutions to train carpenters who are working in family oriented setups in different clusters. “Couple of government owned institutions are providing training to such carpenters, however, they are not up to global standards,” he said.

Answering a question Mian Kashif said to boost the local furniture sector PFC is holding its “ 8th mega Pakistan Interiors Exhibition 2017 “ commencing from 7th July next in Expo Centre Karachi. “ Over 60 local and a dozen foreign companies dealing with furniture and interior designs have so far confirmed their participation  display their home and office furniture products to attract buyers,” he added.

"PFC is focusing on marketing activities in key markets including United States, Japan, European Union and the Gulf. A concerted action is being taken for holding exhibitions, websites, international trade fairs and in-depth market analyses," he added. He said the establishment of joint ventures with foreign producers of woods for the provision of required machinery can bolster the quality of our furniture products and brings them at par with international standards.