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Some other industry sources confirmed that spindles were exported from Pakistan but in a clandestine way

July 08 - 14, 2002

Despite being a textile country Pakistan has to depend entirely on imported textile machinery and equipment as producing these locally calls for capital intensive engineering sector.

Experts in the textile-engineering sector are of the view that manufacturing of the textile machinery and plants can not be feasible due to low volume of production. However, efforts can be made for production of spares in collaboration with international manufacturers of the textile machinery.

There is however reports that the country has started exporting spindles, which of course sounds surprising in the absence of the required technical base within the country.

Reports recently published in a section of the press said: "Pakistan ranked as the third largest exporter of locally manufactured cotton spindles in various countries during the last year, and producers intended to enhance their share in the world market after making some major changes in the original design.

According to latest export figures released by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation, India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh collectively accounted for 64 per cent spindles to the needy countries during 2001.

After having physically shipped 0.874 million spindles, India was on the top of the list followed by China 0.612 million, Pakistan 0.476 million and Bangladesh 0.394 million.

Having a large textile base and to meet the local demand of the spinning sector, Pakistan entered into the spindle manufacturing field in collaboration with China in mid 70s and since then the industry is expanding to cater to the local as well as foreign needs.

"Pakistan's spindles are claimed to be a judicious blend of both Chinese and European spinning modern technologies ideally-suited to cotton spinning.

The exports are not confined to some Far Eastern and Middle Eastern countries; some European importers also buy the locally manufactured spindles, as they are much cheaper and conform to international quality standards.

Pakistan's textile industry having in its fold 400 or odd spinning fully integrated units mostly rely on the locally produced spindles for replacement and expansion purposes".

The industry has already embarked upon a massive modernization programme of Rs55 billion during the next couple of years and has already imported machinery worth $335.1 million since July 2001 to April 2002.

The textile journey starts from the manually operated ring spindles to computerized spinning may be a bit long and expensive; it has certainly enhanced the competitiveness of the local textile products in the world market, the report said.

Informed sources in All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), however declined to confirm the report with the remarks that the industry has not yet started manufacturing any sort of textile machinery or equipment hence the report about exports of spindles seems amazing.

However some other industry sources confirmed that spindles were exported from Pakistan but in a clandestine way. In fact, they disclosed that for the last 4-5 years, a number of sick units in the textile industry were lying closed due to one reason or the other. It may be noted that at least 14,400 spindles are required to run a textile units. These idle spindles being rusted in the closed or sick units were reportedly sold as scrap. Those who purchased these spindles managed to export after refurbishing them to some needy countries. It is however not known whether the concerned lenders were taken into confidence before the deal. According to unconfirmed figures over one million such spindles were removed from the sick or closed units during the last 3-4 years.

Currently, Pakistan's textile industry has an installed capacity of 8.7 million spindles out of which 7.1 million are operative.

The total number of rotors installed is estimated at 141,320 while the number of operative rotors was 63,910, said official sources. As far as the strength of looms was concerned the installed capacity of looms was estimated at 10,134 while 4,488 are in operation currently.

Engineer Abul Kalam, former Chief Executive of Pakistan Machine Tool Factory (PMTF) and also of Karachi Shipyard who have special interest in developing base for production of textile machinery locally said that Pakistan has the potential both in terms of human resource as well as the technical know-how to cater to the needs of the local industry. However, the private sector will have to come forward to encourage the local engineers to move in that direction. He said that some Chinese experts in collaboration with PMTF were making efforts to produce cotton spindles within Pakistan.

However, some leading figures in the textile industry said that the spindles produced locally were much expensive on one side and were not in conformity to the international standards.

The textile industry in Pakistan however continues to grow and is being ranked as 4th since 1994 as far as the textile production is concern. In terms of textile production China is on top of the list, second is USA, India on 3rd position while Pakistan is ranked 4th. However a continued fight between Indonesia and Brazil is going on for the 5th position.

The textile exports, except a minor drop in cotton yarn and fabrics, managed to increase its export volume in bed sheets, towels, garments, hosiery products mainly because of the incentives given by the EU countries. The incentives include 15 per cent increase in quota, exemption from 10 per cent duties, and 6 per cent anti-dumping duty which gave Pakistani textiles an edge over India, the main competitor of Pakistani textiles in the world market.