LAHORE - Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) President Malik Tahir Javaid on Saturday said the chamber would provide furniture exhibitors level playing field enabling them to conduct their business with peace of mind and add up to the important revenue to the national exchequer.

He expressed these views here Saturday during his visit to “9th Interiors Pakistan” exhibition held at Expo Center.

Tahir Javed said PFC's exhibitions were playing a vital role to boost furniture industry locally and internationally. He said the PFC events were boosting the visitor economy through domestic and international visitation, facilitating small business growth by connecting buyers and sellers, knowledge sharing leading to innovation and business collaboration and providing a platform for international trade and investment.

While lamenting the low level of furniture exports, he stressed on the importance of exploring international markets for potential customers to boost exports and the furniture industry.

Appreciating the role of PFC chief executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq, he said with a little innovation, investment and government support, furniture industry can generate even more employment and income from sustainable economy. He said textiles and rice were currently the largest exports of Pakistan bringing in $14 billion and $2 billion of foreign exchange, respectively. Furniture exports, on the other hand, stand at a meager $51 million.

He said holding of exhibitions would not only promote economic activities in the country but would also encourage furniture exports. "Fairs and exhibitions not only attract foreign buyers and bring in much needed foreign exchange, but also highlight the soft image of Pakistan", he added.

Expressing his gratitude for chamber' support to promote furniture's fairs inside the country, the PFC chief executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq said the 'Interiors Pakistan' is an opportunity for the largest furniture companies and interior designers across the country to display their products. He further said that with its previous experience, the PFC remained one of the most distinctive channels for regional and international companies to penetrate the global market.

He said the Pakistan furniture industry had a great potential in future and he predicted that the increased exposure through Interiors Pakistan would highlight the skill and talent in the country.

Meanwhile, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman and Vice President Manzoor ul Haq Malik said local furniture sector attached great importance to the national economy and could make a substantial contribution of billions of dollars export annually if the government properly patronizes it on priority for boosting export of Pak-handmade furniture.

He expressed these views here during his visit to “9th Interiors Pakistan” exhibition held at Expo Center. He also appreciated the PFC for holding successful series of interiors Pakistan exhibitions in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. He urged the government to establish greater liaison with this sector to fully understand the market conditions and requirements of the industry needs to protect, develop and promote.

He said the government should also provide more visible support to furniture business in terms of simple and easily obtainable grants for exhibiting and travelling to trade shows and promoting Pak export as a success globally. He said Pakistan’s furniture exports stand at a meager $51 million. He said if the government extends its support to furniture companies, the volume of export could touch the figure of $5 billion for the next five years. He suggested that a programme for developing and promoting the furniture sector both in rural and urban areas could be feasible, and also stressed upon urgent need for implementing modern techniques which not only enhance productivity, develop skills of labourers and meet requirements of local and global markets.