The textile sector, as far as export performance is
concerned, has made an impressive beginning at the end of the first
quarter of the current financial year July-October 2002.
The current financial year is expected to culminate
more handsomely if the textile sector sustains the prevailing trend in
the textile exports and the US market allows additional room for textile
products from Pakistan at some stage during the year.
The first four months of the year from July-October
2002 have added at least 14.86 per cent to textile exports with $2.230
billion as compared to export earnings worth $1.941 billion during the
corresponding period last year.
The sector-wise break-up of the export performance
during the first quarter reveals that cotton yarn fetched $329 million
against $319 of the previous year, which showed an increase of about 3
The export of fabric increased by 29 per cent to $431
million while knitwear earned $364 million as against $319 million
showing a growth of 14 per cent.
In other sectors of the textile industry, bed wear
and towels showed a growth of 27.4 per cent and 4.4 per cent
respectively, as both the segment of the textile regime earned $380
million and $94 million against $298 million and $11 million
The sector of textile made-ups (garments) also showed
improvement from $296 million to $361 million during the first four
months of the financial year. This sector has also registered an
increase of 21 per cent.
The increase in overall textile performance was
mainly due to favourable market accessibility especially in the European
Union market where Pakistani textile products have been allowed 15 per
cent increase in quota besides various incentives including reduction in
duty and other levies.
However in the textile sector despite the fact that
EU has become major trading partner of Pakistan yet the US still has an
edge due to larger share fetched by Pakistan products despite the fact
that the US administration has not yet given the promised market
accessibility to Pakistani textiles. Once the textile products from
Pakistan were given increased market accessibility as promised it is
expected that the textile exports would add handsomely to the total
export earnings of the country.
In order to advance the negotiations with the US
government in this respect, the long-awaited Pak-US textile meetings
were held during the first week of the current month in Pakistan.
The US Under Secretary of State for Economic,
Business and Agriculture Affairs Alan Larson attended the meeting, which
was held in Islamabad early this month. Razak Dawood, Pakistan's federal
minister for commerce and leading textile leaders also attended that
The US government in order to facilitate Pakistan and
acknowledge its role in international coalition to fight against
terrorism had offered a small textile package, which includes marginal
quota at the beginning of the current year. However, Pakistan had
rejected the package and had demanded for 15 per cent increase in quota
and duty-free access for Pakistan's textile products as granted by the
While demanding enhanced quota and other incentives
for its products Pakistan has taken a plea that since Pakistan's textile
exports to the US market had suffered a lot due to September 11 events,
the US administration should compensate the losses by providing a better
market access for its textile products.
The US is the biggest trading partner of Pakistan,
and in the last year the volume of two-way trade stood at $2.43 billion,
followed by EU countries with annual trade volume of over $2.4 billion.
Pakistan currently exports a total of $1.9 billion worth of apparel and
textiles annually to the United States and is the fourth-largest
supplier of these goods. The US government as stated above is in
agreement that Pakistan textile should be given more accessibility in
the US market, however they are also facing pressures from different
lobbies and US textile industry against permission of more space to
Pakistan products in the US market. The pressure against Pakistan or
other country products is due to economic recession in the aftermath of
September 11 events in the United States.
Sen. Jon Kyl, a republican senator from Arizona has
made a strong plea for easing US restrictions on the import of Pakistan
textile to prevent thousands of Pakistani workers from losing their jobs
and the national economy from being destabilized. The American Textile
Manufacturers Institute had also suggested that the Bush administration
direct the US agency for International Development (USAID) to place
orders for Pakistani textile and apparel products in an attempt to
offset the negative impact on Pakistan's textile exports. The US
Association of Importers of Textile and Apparels, International Mass
Retailers Association, American Apparel and Footwear Association and the
National Retail Federation also pledged to help rescue the textile
sector of Pakistan and to steer-up the US business in the country
through planned efforts.