LAHORE - The commerce ministry has declared full support for the handmade carpet sector in the country, approving Rs 7.5 million for the 34th international Pakistan hand-knotted carpet exhibition being held in collaboration with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan from October 6-8, 2016 in Lahore.

This was announced by Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir during a meeting with the delegation of Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA), consisting of Exhibition chief organizer Major (r) Akhtar Nazir Khan Cooki, exhibition committee chairman Mian Atiqur Rehman, PCMEA chairman Kh Shakir and former chairman Abdul Latif Malik.

The minister said the government was working with the people in the carpet industry to make the business environment more export-friendly. He noted that due to absence of incentives, political instability and energy shortage, the export of Pakistan-made carpets had fallen from $300 million to $120 million in last five-six years.

Khurram Dastgir said the government was determined to facilitate hand-knotted carpet industry, resolving issues ranging from infrastructural shortcomings to skill and product development and research to enhance trade volume for economic stability and growth.

On this occasion, Major (r) Akhtar Nazir Khan Cooki said it was heartening for the exporters to have a long meeting with the federal minister to discuss as to how export of the country could be improved. He appreciated the commerce minister for assuring full support for boosting industrial production and especially approving such a record package of Rs 7.5 million to conduct Pakistan Carpet Show with a view to promoting handmade carpet export.

Meanwhile, the PCMEA has elected Usman Ghani as its new chairman and Ch Riaz as senior vice chairman. The new body will take the charge from next month.

Ch Riaz said that PCMEA has been holding the carpet exhibition for the last 33 years successfully. He appreciated the performance of the outgoing body of the Carpet Association who worked day and night for the success of the upcoming carpet show. Ch Riaz said that the new elected body of the PCMEA will also continue the legacy of the Association to promote the carpet exports.

PCMEA chairman Kh Shakir said that the exhibition could help put the economy on track because exhibitions are the key to exhibit the untapped potentials of Pakistan and to introduce Pakistan's products in the world market.

Exhibition committee chairman Mian Atiqur Rehman, who is also PCMEA Vice Chairman, suggested to the minister that they should also arrange maximum exhibitions in the world to convince the international buyers to import Pakistani handmade carpets by portraying the soft image of the country.

This year the carpet show is going to be the largest showcase of Pakistan's handmade carpets. The event will be visited by a large number of buyers from across the world while over 62 national manufacturers will display their products in the exhibition.

The association will focus more to ensure maximum participation of local new home owners, interior designers, architects and the public to create awareness about the carpets as pieces of art created by local artisans.

He said that the delegates from across the world had been invited and it was expected that over 134 foreign buyers would visit this magnificent carpet show.

The carpet fair will not only facilitate the entrepreneurs and business owners but also highlight the soft image of the country.