FAISALABAD  - Greater duty free access to USA and European markets is imperative to face the current economic recession and Government of Pakistan should take immediate administrative and diplomatic initiatives to achieve this objective, said Pakistan Textile Exporters Association here Saturday.

Talking to newsmen, Rana Arif Tauseef, Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, said that exporters are facing difficulties in getting new orders both because of energy shortage and drop in demand. In July-April period, textile exports fell 9.6 per cent compared to a year ago, according to official statistics.

He emphasized that it was vital for survival of exports and textile industry to get duty free market access to US and European countries. Being front line partner of war on terror, duty free market access was given to Pakistani textiles for three years and during that period textile exports volume increased.

Rana Arif said that Pakistan is passing through tough economic conditions, which is further giving rise to industrial uncertainty, poverty and frustration. As a consequence of energy crisis, the textile production capacity of various sub sectors has been reduced by 50 per cent. Electricity loadshedding was causing extraordinary production losses and badly affecting capability of the industry. In Punjab, energy supply disruption was causing an estimated loss of Rs. 1 billion per day, he said. The cost of production has also risen due to instant increase in electricity and gas tariff. Such levies have decreased competitiveness of this industry in international market, he stated. In the larger interest of the economy and exports, the government should speed up its efforts to get duty free access to EU and USA, he added.

Being major ally in war against terrorism, we have not been given the preferential custom tariff, he said and added that all the ills in Pakistan are because of empty-stomach and jobless people. We need to support textile sector that provides job to large number of people. He said that world must realize that people in Pakistan are real concerned especially the business community for being able to get the preferred market access by its ally USA.

Pakistan was also facing huge economic challenges after the devastating floods that have wiped out farmland and ruined infrastructure. He said this is the high time that big markets should come forward to help Pakistan in reviving its fragile economy. He said the only way for sustainable rehabilitation of the flood affected people is through creation of new jobs, which will not be possible unless the world allowed greater market access to Pakistan’s exports.

PTEA chairman demanded duty free market access and abolishing of quota restrictions in USA and Europe for revival of sagging economy.