LAHORE - Travel advisory issued by the developed economies has already hit the hand-knotted carpet exports severely while Pakistan embassies abroad were also discouraging the foreign buyers by warning them of risk to their life. Pervaiz Hanif, Chairman Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association stated this on Tuesday. He while giving a briefing to the members of Lahore Economic Journalists Association on the state of carpet industry in Pakistan said hand knotted carpet is unique product, which the buyers place orders after inspecting every peace of hand knotted carpet. He said carpet exports suffered first after 9/11 as the foreigners stopped visiting Pakistan. However he added their confidence was restored after hectic efforts by the hand knotted carpet exports. He said the second set back to carpet exports was more severe after the proclamation of Emergency by General Musharaf in 2007. The buyers drastically reduce touching Pakistani soil, he said, adding that the exports during this period have almost halved from $300 million to$145 million in 2008-09. Hanif said the exporters again convinced the buyers that things are almost normal in Pakistan and there is no danger for them at least in big cities like Karachi and Lahore. He said members have reported that many Pakistani embassies do issue visa to the prospective carpet buyers but verbally warn them that visiting Pakistan is a life risk. He said in this regard buyers from Spain, Italy and Turkey have quoted the warning of the Pakistani embassies while refusing to visit Pakistan. He said the carpet weaving provides employment to 1.5 million workers. He said it is a labor-intensive industry where the labor accounts for 70 per cent of the input cost while the raw material accounts for 30 per cent of the production cost. He said another aspect worth noting is that the carpet weaving is done in the poverty stricken regions of the country. He said in early seventies it was concentrated in poor regions of central Punjab like Daska and Sangla Hill. He said as the affluence increased in the region the carpet weaving has now shifted to South Punjab like Vehari, D G. Khan and Ghakkar. Another aspect in this trade is that70 per cent of the workforce are women that operate looms at their home and supplement the income of the male family members. He said India has emerged as the largest exporter of hand knotted carpets in the world with any early export of $1.2b. However he added that the Indian export low value added carpets. He said Pakistan could increase its exports four times from current $145 million to $600 million if the government facilitates the exporters. He said the carpet exporters are receiving delayed payments of their consignments due to global recession. They, he added, are thus not in opposition to fulfill the State Banks condition of turning over two times the low interest export refinance provided to them. He said in view of exceptional conditions the SBP should waive this condition as it did last year. He said that the central bank has also reduced the amount of export refinance from 100 per cent to 75 pc.