LAHORE – The country has almost zero share of branded and high-value fashion and sportswear textile in global markets, despite huge public demand for such products in Europe and the US, which is being fulfilled by our South Asian competitors, including India, China and Bangladesh, industry experts said on Monday.

“It is unfortunate that around 7 to 8 per cent of international sports products are sent from Pakistan throughout the globe but it has very negligible contribution in sportswear.”

Chief Coordinator of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association Ijaz Khokhar said that country’s both public and private sectors lack knowledge and expertise about textile high-value fashion manufacturing, coupled with acute shortage of raw material, as its export is not more than $50 million out of total $4 billion garment export.

Presently, Bangladesh is dominant on high-value fashion wear export on the back of relaxation in raw material import, which is zero-rated across the board.  

He asked the government to allow import of high-value fashion wear and sportswear raw material duty free across the board to raise garment export to $7 billion from present mark of $4 billion. He said that big exporters are availing benefit of duty free raw material under DTRE Scheme, as they can import the whole consignment of containers which SMEs cannot do.  

He said federal ministries of commerce and textiles were still unaware of the growing potential of other South Asian countries, including India, China and Bangladesh in textile innovation. As a result, we are unable to compete with our neighbours in the international markets if the government did not step up to bolster ailing textile manufacturing sector.

He appealed to the government to proactively deal with the ongoing energy crisis and other issues to avert industrial closures and resultant economic downturn. He said that the power shortage had not only caused unrest among the businessmen but it was depriving country of 2 per cent of much-needed GDP with an impact of Rs52 billion per annum on revenue generation and if seriousness is not shown practically, it is not the industrial productions alone but the economic activity will come to a grinding halt in totality.

Ijaz Khokhar, who was visibly disturbed over the government’s inability to tackle power crisis in its over four and half years tenure, pressing upon the policy makers for implementation of a result-oriented mechanism.

He said that circular debt, electricity theft, fast increasing line losses, inefficiencies of government-owned generation and distribution companies; overstaffing; free provision of electricity to the tune of Rs100 million a day; poor maintenance of plant equipment; the use of obsolete technologies need to be tackled head-on and without any further loss of time.

He also urged the government to ensure equal supply of electricity throughout the country as the province of Punjab was worst hit and investment scenario has totally spoiled in the province. Private sector should show some interest in reshaping textile sector in line with the international changing trends.

Pakistan’s share of textile garments in global markets will phenomenally go down by 30 to 40 per cent in 2013, as major European store chains are now more focused on placing orders from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, exporters said on Thursday.  Khokhar said that the primary reason behind the shift of global buyers from Pakistan to other countries is violence, particularly targeted killings in Karachi. He feared that Pakistan might lose its existing share of textile products in the international market if the government did not steer its priorities towards solving key issues of governance.