Foreigners show keen interest in PFC exhibition

LAHORE  (INP): Foreign furniture manufacturers and investors have shown keen interest in a 3-day exhibition “9th Pakistan Interiors Exhibition 2017”, commencing from December 15 at Lahore Expo Centre. This was revealed here Saturday by Chief Executive Pakistan Furniture Council Mian Kashif Ashfaq while presiding over a board of directors meeting attended by Khawaja Maqbool Elahi, Shahzad Yousaf Mughal, Shahbaz Aslam and Rizwan Amjad. The exhibition, being organised by the Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC), has garnered great interest among the people concerned and international market. The industry is rife with anticipation for various opportunities and ideas that the PFC will offer, says a PFC press release issued here. Over 100 local and foreign companies have so far confirmed their participation in the mega show by getting their stall booked. He said that the PFC was on a mission and wanted to educate people about the value of owning fine hand-crafted furniture.

“This time again, the PFC continues to expand its global footprint by welcoming visitors from different countries including China, Italy, Singapore, USA, Australia, Japan, Philippines, the UK, Bulgaria, Denmark, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam.“Exhibitors will have an opportunity to meet new buyers for networking and market expansion,” he added.

He said that the exhibition would also provide the younger designers and architects with an opportunity to witness the market trends and display their own works alongside that of more established professionals. PFC CEO said that the show would offer a full range of furniture with extensive selections of modern and contemporary styles for dining, bedroom, living room, office, occasional, children, outdoor as well as furniture fittings and hardware.

“As we’re working, we’re always striving for a higher degree of excellence,” Kashif said. “The problem with furniture making is that it takes so much labour. So one of our goals is to show people what we do and why our work is worth what it costs them.”

“The PFC is also continuing its work to develop a Pakistani presence in more countries and to act as the focal point for Pakistani furniture designers and manufacturers to enter the international market,” he added.

Pakistan’s wood industry is well developed and captures 95% of the country’s total market for furniture. The country has more than 700 units of wooden furniture with Chiniot alone meeting 80% of furniture demand in the country, Gujarat with world-class furniture, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi being important sale/purchase centres.

The market is divided into home use and contract markets, constituting supplies to hotels, restaurants, offices and public facilities.

Mian Kashif Ashgaq, who is also CEO Chen One, said Pakistan imported furniture worth Rs1.69 billion in 2015-16, which is mere wastage of our hard-earned foreign exchange. This industry, combined with the handicraft industry, is employing about 50,000 people. “If local industry expands, new opportunities of employment would be generated,” he added.

Secretary PFC Hamid Mahmood briefing the meeting said Pakistan was not known globally as a furniture market which could convince international business community about innovation and quality of Pakistani products.

He suggested that the government should encourage and support business houses to invest and develop trustworthy furniture trade markets. There is a need for holding exhibitions in the EU member states to raise awareness about Pakistan’s traditional and innovative products, he added.

He said that Europe would be the biggest market for Pakistan’s textile products in future. However, Pakistan should also focus on other exportable products to increase its share in European market and reduce dependence on traditional exports. In Pakistan, he said, most of the furniture was hand-made but still it was very cheap and could be marketed in EU countries at a better price.




Farmers urge Punjab govt to ensure purchase of sugarcane at fixed price by mills

SARGODHA (APP): Farmers have demanded the Punjab government to ensure timely start of the sugarcane crushing season by the sugar mills in Punjab and payment of fixed price announced by it for 2017-18. Rai Farooq, a farmer, told APP that the Punjab government had fixed sugarcane price at Rs 180 per 40 kg for the current season, but mill owners were enforcing the farmers to sell their yields at Rs160 per 40 kg. Many mills, he said, had not yet started crushing of the sugarcane as they were insisting to purchase the crop at low rate, which was injustice to the farmers. Another farmer Muhammed Qasim Dhudi said that the sugar mills, which had started the crushing season, were also not issuing Cane Purchase Receipts (CPRs) to the farmers. Only unstamped chits containing weight details were given to them, he added. He claimed that the sugar mills' administrations purchased the sugarcane on the condition that they would make payment at the rate of Rs160 per 40 kg.

Delay in the starting crushing of sugarcane by some sugar mills would affect the cultivation process of wheat, he added.

Sher Ali, another farmer, said the Punjab government had asked the sugar mills to start the crushing season from November 25 but they started crushing in December. When the farmers demanded payment of sugarcane at the fixed price, some mills shut down the crushing, he added.



Saarc CCI to organise business conclave in March in Nepal

ISLAMABAD (APP): SAARC Chamber has announced to organize a high level “3-day 6th mega edition of SAARC business leaders conclave (SBLC) on March 16 at Kathmandu, Nepal. This was disclosed by President SAARC CCI Suraj Vaidya in a meeting with SAARC Chamber Pak chapter Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik . In a statement, he said that SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Federation of Nepalese Chambers would organize the conclave in which chambers from all South Asian member countries would participate. Unfolding the salient features of the enclave, Suraj said the theme of this year’s conference was "Unleashing Shared Prosperity through Economic Integration.” PM of Nepal will inaugurate while ministerial round will have the participation of all the Commerce Ministers of SAARC member nations. Over 500 leading business leaders, eminent international experts and senior dignitaries from public and private sectors of SAARC member nations were expected to attend the business conclave, he added.

Highlighting the importance of the economic integration in South Asia, he said the urgency of the need for new policies to stimulate economic growth was all the more poignant because the region as a whole remains plagued by extreme poverty.

Suraj Vaidya said the geopolitical importance of South Asia, shared borders with Central Asia and the oil-rich Gulf, its natural resources, and its human capital make the region’s potential for growth enormous.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said the regional dynamic today was skewed in such a way that the larger economies, India and Pakistan, were more likely to import from more distant countries than from the region.

He said 6th SAARC Business Leaders Conclave was an opportunity where leading business leaders, politicians, opinion makers, prominent academicians, and industry players, renowned and celebrated figures of South Asia, being the drivers of socio political change, could vocally advocate policies that promote such integration.

“SAARC Business Leaders Conclave is truly the only podium that articulates and speaks the voice of the private sector to the public sector in the region,” he added.

Secretary General SAARC Chamber Hina Saeed and Deputy Secretary General Zulfiqar Ali Butt were also present on the occasion.



Chinese truck maker rides electric boom


CHANGCHUN (APP/Xinhua): FAW Jiefang Automotive Co. Ltd., an established Chinese truck manufacturer, has opened its first production base for electric trucks. The base in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao is expected to produce 50,000 full electric trucks each year, according to the company, a subsidiary of China's leading auto maker FAW Group. The company has developed light, medium and heavy new energy trucks, said Hu Hanjie, general manager of FAW Jiefang. New energy vehicles, including all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, have seen explosive growth in China. Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed that 517,000 new energy vehicles, including full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, were manufactured and 490,000 were sold between January and October, both up more than 45 percent year on year. Since the first Jiefang truck was manufactured in 1956, the brand has sold more than 6.6 million trucks and exported to 80 countries and regions.

In 2016, the company sold 202,000 trucks, 185,000 of which were medium and heavy vehicles, holding the biggest market share in China at 19.25 percent. Its output this year has exceeded 300,000, the company announced Thursday.

In addition to the electric push, Jiefang will also focus on research for self-driving trucks in coming years.