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Mar 26 - Apr 01, 2001

Textile industry unprepared for quota phase out

The textile industry is unprepared to face competition after the phasing out in 2004 of export quotas under the World Trade Organization agreements.

While cautioning at a seminar, the owners of garment industry, government representatives and labour, experts noted that the success of the industry to stay afloat would depend on adoption by it, the social standards for workers embodied in ILO Conventions. Their ability to market their products in the developed world was contingent on the implementation of these standards, they pointed out.

The seminar on "Improving Social Standards in the Garment and Textile Industries in Pakistan" was organized by the Innovate Co, Consultants, and the German NGO, GTZ. It ended with the Federal Minister for Labour, Manpower & Employment, Omar Asghar Khan address.

At the outset, the Economic Counsellor of German Embassy, Dr Viktor Matz said the industrialists need to realize that a happy workforce was the key to improved productivity and competitiveness. The US has barred the products coming from industries that do not follow labour standards, while Europe too, is considering to move in that direction.

Pakistan, Dr Berthold Kuhn stated was the second country where these consultants carried out a GTZ-sponsored study, whose objectives were to assess the current status of social standards in textile and garment industries by reviewing legislation and implementation; identify and disseminate best practices of social standards; production of a catalogue of relevant, desired and achievable social standards for the garments and textile industry; and formulation of recommendations for the improvement of social standards in consultation with key stakeholders.

Carpet exports

Pakistan's carpet exporters have secured orders worth $16 million from the American and European importers at the four-day international carpet display held at Karachi last week.

According to the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA), which organized the exhibition with the help of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), some 100 buyers from the US and several countries of Europe visited the exhibition.

"The exhibition will go long in boosting Pakistani carpet exports this year," said a PCMEA official. He was hopeful that the industry would be able to export carpets worth $290-300 million at the end of the current financial year as compared to the last year's $265 million.

In the first eight months (July-February) of the present fiscal, Pakistan has exported carpets to the tune of $177 million. "This shows a nine per cent increase over the last year's exports during the same period," the PCMEA official said.

WB-IFC team meets EPB chief

A 6-member delegation of World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) led by Sr. Financial Economist (IBRD) Simon Bell held meeting with Minister of State and Chairman Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Tariq Ikram and other officials on Monday.

According to an EPB announcement here Tuesday, the chairman EPB told the delegation that the government has embarked upon a new proactive and facilitative 6-point export strategy to increase the exports.

He said the export targets have been fixed for capturing markets abroad and Pakistani trade and diplomatic missions are to play a key role in execution of the new strategy.

To achieve this goal, EPB has also been re-organised in line with modern trade promotional models, he added.

APTMA holds talks with Korean

A delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) held talks with the officials of Korean Trade Commission (KTC) to sort out issues relating to the investigation against five Pakistani textile mills on suspicion of their involvement in dumping of their products in Korea.

The mills which have been sent a questionnaire by the KTC to ascertain whether they are involved in dumping or not, are Ali Akbar Spinning Mills, Gulistan Textile Mills, Mayfair Spinning Mills, Kunjah Textile Mills and Hira Textile Mills.

PIA assures space to exporters

The General Manager, PIA Balochistan, Mohyuddin Wardag has said that all possible efforts would be made to ensure maximum space in Sharjah bound service and other foreign destinations for Balochistan exporters.

Talking to newsmen on Monday he said, PIA has already announced 50 per cent rebate in cargo booking for Sharjah, while for Dhaka and some countries the rebate was under consideration.

Sri Lanka to discuss free trade

Sri Lanka is turning to Pakistan to boost exports after burning its fingers on a trade pact with India. The misleadingly-titled Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Sri Lanka marks its full year of implementation this month with many Sri Lankan businesses bitter they had been taken for a ride.

The deal with New Delhi was to dismantle barriers, but instead it saw new obstacles in place.

Shortly after Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee signed the FTA in December 1998, academics and ruling party loyalists here hailed the deal as a model for free trade in South Asia.

But the main spin-off from the trade pact for Sri Lanka was a lesson on how not to do business with other countries and Sri Lankan trade officials said they would apply the Indian experience in dealing with Pakistan.

CE wants closer ties with Syria

Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on Saturday called for increasing economic cooperation between Pakistan and Syria.

He was talking to the visiting Syrian finance minister, Dr Mohammad Khalid Al-Mahayni, who called on him. Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz was also present on the occasion.