LAHORE - The EU Ambassador Jean Francois Cautain on Wednesday visited All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) and expressed hope that Pakistan textile industry would sustain its strength in future to overcome its challenges.

Aptma Central Chairman Aamir Fayyaz, along with other office bearers, welcomed the ambassador at the APTMA Punjab office. He briefed the visiting envoy about the progress made by the textile industry and highlighted the prospects of future increase of textile and clothing exports to the EU.

While highlighting the Aptma and textile industry’s significance, structure and strengths, he apprised of various initiatives undertaken by the Aptma for the sustainability and the way forward in the realisation of the potential increase in exports under the GSP pus status to Pakistan. He said that as far as Pakistan exports to the EU are concerned, textile and clothing contributes 78 percent to the total exports. However, he added, the post GSP plus data has revealed that the textile and clothing exports to EU was increase by 22 percent in 2014. However, this increase dropped to 10 percent and 3 percent respectively in 2015 and 2016, he added.

However, he said, the textile industry has not been able to realise export potential, as envisaged, in view of various constraints such as raw material shortage, energy affordability issues, policy and implementation divide and high cost of doing business. These issues have also hindered further investment by the industry, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, the EU ambassador expressed the hope that Pakistan textile industry would sustain its strength in future to overcome its challenges. However, he expressed his concerns over the issues relating to the implementation of 27 UN conventions. He urged both the public and private sector to resolve these issues at the earliest and continue availing the GSP plus facility.

 

Besides the inherent strengths, the industry also looks for opportunities under the CPEC investment, regional integration and GSP plus facility up to 2023 and a growing middle class. He said the textile industry has planned $6 billion investment to create exportable surplus so as to avail the potential of GSP plus facility.

He said that in 2013 Pakistani exporters were getting Rs148 a Euro which has dropped to Rs112 in 2016. This has not been the case for other countries such as India, China, Bangladesh and Vietnam as they devalued their currencies to offset the impact, he added.