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WASHINGTON DC: “Pakistan's apparel sector is undergoing profound transformation and is positioning itself for robust export growth,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, said a press release issue by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC on Tuesday.

He said “Individual companies in Pakistan are adopting advanced traceability technologies to consciously champion supply chain transparency in alignment with global requirements. Under Net Zero Pakistan initiative, leading apparel companies are committed to accelerating the transition to sustainability and delivering Net Zero goal by 2050.”

Ambassador Masood Khan made these remarks during a public hearing by US International Trade Commission (ITC) on export competitiveness of the apparel industries in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan in the US market. The investigation is being conducted by the ITC at the request of United States Trade Representative and the Commission is required to submit its report by August 30, 2024.

The ITC report would make a comparison of market share by these five suppliers and would analyze changing patterns in market share. The report would also take into account major factors of competitiveness, including trade, industry structure, price and costs, product differentiation, and reliability.

Highlighting that the textiles and apparels contributed around 60 per cent to national exports and 24 per cent to industrial value-addition, the ambassador pointed out that the sector has a unique distinction of having mature, intensive backward and forward linkages which translate into a vertically integrated value chain. He informed the participants that textiles and apparel were generating 40 per cent of the total industrial employment and a significant employment generator for Pakistani female workforce.

The ambassador pointed out that Pakistan’s strength in textiles and apparel sector was anchored in local supply of major input materials, availability of a skilled and competitive workforce, industrial integration, vibrant and dynamic entrepreneurship and commitment to meeting quality and the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) standards. “These factors,” he said, “are under pinned by the government’s aggressive measures to improve efficiency, regulatory environment and ease of doing business.”

Masood Khan also highlighted that the United States was the largest export destination for Pakistan. “Textiles and apparel constitute around 85 per cent of Pakistan’s total exports to the US,” he said.

“Pakistan has a 3.3 per cent share of the US market in the textiles and apparel segment, however, all the exports of apparel products are subject to applicable MFN tariffs of up to 38.3 per cent as Pakistan does not enjoy preferential access to the US market,” he added.

He pointed out that Pakistan was the fifth-largest cotton producer in the world. Pakistan is the third largest producer of better cotton globally and promotes cultivation of organic cotton to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. Pakistan was making concerted endeavors to increase cotton productivity and transition towards sustainable development, the ambassador added.

Highlighting the resilience of the sector, especially in the wake of Covid-19, Masood Khan pointed out that Pakistan recorded textiles and apparel exports of US$ 19.3 billion in FY 2021-22, up by 54.4 per cent as compared to US$ 12.5 billion in FY 2019-20. This growth, he said, was driven by apparel exports which increased by 69 per cent to US$ 9.03 billion in FY22 from US$ 5.35 billion in FY20.

“Because of massive disruption in supply chains in last two years, Pakistan like other leading exporters of apparel witnessed a declining trend. However, right now, we are in the recovery mode of rapid growth,” said the ambassador. He also pointed out that Pakistan followed a liberal investment regime that offered conducive environment to attract foreign and local investors. He said that Pakistan attracted high-value-added, export-oriented, and resource-efficient investments through increased integration with global value chains.

During the last few years, the sector has attracted approximately $5 billion of fresh local investment for the expansion of the textiles and apparel manufacturing chain, including imports of around $2.2 billion worth of new machinery from 2019 to 2023. The sector, therefore, has the capacity to ramp up the scale of apparel manufacturing further.

He said that Pakistan’s customer base was diverse, and many prominent US enterprises and retailers, most of them Fortune 500, were already sourcing their products from Pakistan. “Pakistani apparel exporters look forward to reinforcing the strong historical trade relations between the two countries,” concluded the ambassador.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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ABDUL KADIR BILWANI Mar 13, 2024 10:57am
Only good soeach will not be fruitful on ground government has to take bold and desisive steps for energy specially PIGP
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