LAHORE - All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan has urged the government to protect the domestic commerce for the revival and growth of textile industry, as the size of illegal textile goods entering into domestic commerce through smuggling, Afghan Transit Trade and misdeclaration is equal to the size of the textile industry meant to produce goods for domestic commerce.

According to a conservative estimate, the industry exports 70 percent of the total fiber consumed to produce textile and clothing goods. The remaining 30 percent of fiber for domestic commerce consumption is equal to the size of fibers entering into the market through various sources including official import of textile and clothing, worn clothing and informal textile and clothing trade.

Almost 1.1 million ton fiber is consumed to produce goods by domestic industry and 1.2 million ton textile and clothing goods are entering into the domestic commerce through import sources, he said and added that if the government takes measures and adopts mechanism to check entry of such goods into the commerce of Pakistan, both at the entry and sale points, the domestic industry can easily double its production to provide domestically produced textile and clothing for meeting domestic requirement of 220 million population.

He said the competing countries have a tariff regime besides levying duties, both specific and ad-valorem, with an option to enforce whichever is higher, to restrict the textile and clothing goods for domestic consumption and consequently, the industry size for domestic market is growing there exponentially.

He pointed out that the government may not be able to persuade people to follow ‘Be Pakistani and Buy Pakistani’ slogan, however, a mechanism, if rightly followed for implementation, can still yield better results.

He said the new textile policy is under consideration of the government, therefore, it is imperative to deliberate the issue of domestic commerce in length and make it an integral part of the policy to protect domestic commerce in the larger interest of the industry.

He has demanded removal of duties on fibers, both short for industry and also not manufactured domestically, impose 20 percent regulatory duty on import of synthetic yarns and fabrics, rationalize tariff by reducing the up-front incidentals on import of PSF to encourage production and market diversification for textile and discourage misuse of exemption schemes i.e. DTRE/manufacturing bond to stop entry of yarns and fabrics in domestic commerce.

He said the industry can generate new investment, sizeable employment and high production if the government enables it to grow.