Research Analyst
July 19 - 25, 2010

Textile processing sector is one of the most important industrial sectors of Pakistan with regard to production, export, and labour force employment. It accounts for 64 per cent of the country's export, 46 per cent of industrial manpower, and 8.5 per cent of gross national product. However, the sector is facing the challenge of conforming to international quality standards and abiding by legislations.

Power loom units sprang up like mushrooms in Pakistan in the unorganized sector; whose number rose to about 0.3 million plus.

Out of necessity, a proportionate number of processing units was required for dyeing, bleaching, printing, finishing, packing, and packaging of the raw-fabric which was being mass produced by the unorganised power loom sector. And, this was the occasion when the entrepreneurs and pioneers of the processing sector rose to the occasion and, remarkably enough, came out with flying colours.

Despite their meager resources, they succeeded not only in making the country self-sufficient in garments and apparel, but also in providing quality fabrics to the international markets while their quality was second to none.


Exports of finished textiles have begun to expand since 1990. In recent years, the industry has been jolted by some trade restrictions based on environmental considerations. Certain exporters in Pakistan have faced cancellation of their orders due to their lack of compliance with certain legislations in the importing countries. This at one hand incurs major losses on their behalf as well as makes other producers skeptical about foreign markets. Worldwide governments and businesses respond to consumer preferences for ecologically friendly production and consumption, and set and impose environmental standards. Thus, even the goods currently being exported are increasingly being expected to meet stringent environmental standards.


Pakistan has recently initiated a project funded by EU-Small Projects Facility on promoting better environmental practices in the textile processing sector through research and information exchange under the proposed project WWF-Pakistan. This project also aims to promote environmental reporting in the sector through organising awareness sessions and rewarding industries for their transparency.

Many progressive Pakistani textile units have started employing good environmental practices including in-house improvements (IHI) and cleaner production (CP) options. The experience shows that adopting these measures is not too costly and brings down the cost of end-of pipe (EOP) treatment. Thus, the project aims to promote implementation of the environmental aspect of corporate social responsibility in the textile processing sector in Pakistan.


In Pakistan, textile manufactures contributed 53.96 per cent of total exports in which the share of bed wear was (10.05 per cent), knitwear (9.47 per cent), cotton yarn (9.34 per cent), cotton fabrics (9.31 per cent) and articles of apparel & clothing accessories (excl knitwear) (6.26 per cent) during October 2009. However, during October 2009, the textile group contributed 1.76 per cent of total imports in which the share of synthetic fiber and synthetic & artificial silk yarn were 0.99 per cent and 0.77 per cent respectively.


COMMODITIES OCT, 2009 SEP, 2009 OCT, 2008
Bed wear 13,195.18 12,065.13 10,771.05
Knitwear 12,425.63 12,944.53 10,720.03
Cotton yarn 12,265.30 9,531.11 7,472.20
Cotton fabrics 12,222.73 11,880.01 14,419.60
Articles of apparel & clothing accessories 8,215.51 8,277.42 7,491.12
Towels 4,601.96 4,418.52 4,222.04
Synthetic textile fabrics 3,976.07 2,229.46 513.36
Textile made up 3,459.25 2,759.30 3,012.78
Tarpaulin &other canvas goods 469.91 308.09 243.07
Monthly Imports by Textile Group (Rs in mn)
Synthetic fibre 2,459.14 2,500.80 2,364.48
Synthetic & artificial silk yarn 1,894.93 1,972.15 1,801.95


Pakistan's textile sector has been confronted with many problems like high cost of production and energy shortage. Other players in the South Asia have succeeded in creating a niche in the international markets by exporting quality products, augmenting textile exports, and earning rich dividends due to surge in the export of their cotton products.

During the last few years, the textile exporters have faced serious power crisis in the industrial areas, which caused million of rupees losses to every year especially from Dec to July as these months are considered the peak seasons of textile export.


Textile trade in the world is estimated to be around $300 billion. Industry experts predict that by 2014, the facilities in the west will close down and they will source their textiles from more efficient areas of the world resulting in the trade volume of around $ 800 billion. Currently, textile processing is one of the most value-added and export-oriented sectors of textile industries in Pakistan. Aptma protects and promotes the interest of all persons dealing in processing of textile products: dyeing, bleaching, and printing.