BEDWEAR EXPORTS TO HIT $ ONE BILLION TARGET

The technological growth and development of our nation depends largely on the development of skills

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
June 10 - 16, 2002

Despite the difficult conditions faced by the exporters of various products from Pakistan, the bedwear sector in Pakistan has shown outstanding performance during the current financial year adding handsomely to the total exports of the country.

The bedwear exports during the previous financial year were estimated at $650 million. However, the last year's figures were surpassed by a big margin as the total exports of bedwear during the current year are estimated around $900 million.

The factors which were instrumental for outstanding export performance in the bedwear exports this year, Shabir Ahmed, Chairman of Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association outlined in an exclusive interview.

The incentives given by the EU countries which including 15 per cent increase in quota of bedwear, exemption from 10 per cent duty plus waiver of 6.5 per cent anti-dumping duty on Pakistani bedwears altogether helped promoting bedwear exports from Pakistan.

While anti-dumping duty was removed from Pakistani products, the same duty was imposed on bedwear imports from India. This also gave an edge to Pakistani exporters over the Indian products in the bedwear sector.

Shabir said that the quality, design and color schemes of Pakistani bedwears are matching to the demand of the international market hence it has carved a respectful place in the world market.

He said that the actual export target for the current financial year was set at US dollar one billion and we were sure to comfortably hit the target, however the tense situation between India and Pakistan disturbed the plain sailing.

He however said with a great amount of confidence in his tone that this sector may surpass the one billion-dollar mark next year.

Shabir said that the bedwear sector due to its quality products has the potential to go far ahead of the current bench mark of US Dollar one billion next year provided the desirable working conditions are provided at the home front.

For example, he said that the exporters face great hardships due to liquidity crunch on account of delayed payments of Sales Tax Refunds. He said billion of rupees on account of Sales Tax refunds are stuck up with the Central Board of Revenue causing cash-flow problems for the exporters. Another area as he identified was the high rates of export refinancing in Pakistan. Although the State Bank of Pakistan has curtailed the financial charges on export refinance and has brought it down to the extent of 7 per cent. However the existing rates are still much higher as compared to other countries. He said that export refinance is generally available at 2-3 per cent elsewhere in the world while here the exporters have no option but to pay more. The higher rate of export refinancing certainly curtails the competitiveness of the exporters from Pakistan.

Replying to a question, Shabir said that the increase in exports has been achieved in the EU countries, while the export figures to the US are almost static to the figures of the last year. The US has not yet given any sort of incentives to the bedwear sector so far.

Another significant development was the joint venture agreement between France and Pakistan in the bedwear sector. It was the very first Pak-French joint venture in the textile sector, which is the backbone of Pakistan economy. This joint venture has been taken place between Nash International from Pakistan and Duquennoy el Lepers from France. The two partners have also put a joint stand at HEIMTEXTIL Exhibition at Frankfurt. As a result of this joint venture now Pak-French brand of bed linen will be available all over the world which of course is a big achievement on the part of bedwear sector in Pakistan.

TECHNOLOGY-SKILL

The bedwear sector in order to improve the quality of the products in accordance to the demand of the international market, Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association has established designing and training institute to ensure advancement in this sector.

Shabir said "there have been tremendous advances in all the technological fields, modern computerized designing techniques in textile technology have also revolutionized offering a whole new dimension in the variety, efficiency and accuracy of designing." The technological growth and development of our nation depends largely on the development of skills, expertise of human resources that may generate spirit of competency essential at this stage. In this respect "Pakistan Bedwear Designing & Training Institute" is providing professional education to the youth and particularly to those who have the pre-requisite talent but can not avail the opportunity owing to financial constraints. In order to provide quality education, Bedwear Institute includes qualified and dynamic individuals holding qualifications from Universities of repute from all over the world.