FRANKFURT: Heimtextil, the largest international trade fair for home and contract textiles, opened on Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany with more than 200 exhibitors from Pakistan participating in the event.
This year’s theme is ‘The Future is Urban’ considering more than half the world’s population is living in cities. The four-day exhibition explains how urban life is likely to impact living and working environments in the future.
The exhibition features textile and furniture products made of new designs and materials to maintain quality life in an increasingly complex urban world.
Speaking at the inaugural press conference, Messe Frankfurt CEO Detlef Braun said 2,975 exhibitors from 64 countries are taking part in the event, putting Heimtextil on a growth course for the eighth consecutive year.
A Pakistani exhibitor and senior vice president of All Pakistan Bedsheet & Upholstery Manufacturers Association Imran Mehmood said the fair remains important from various perspectives, including reviving the country’s textile exports, which remain the single largest earner of foreign exchange despite recent setbacks.
“Secondly, the country is allowed to make textile exports at concessional import duties to the European Union under the GSP Plus scheme provided by the 27-national bloc. To take advantage from it, we must understand the emerging market dynamics which is possible at Heimtextil,” Mehmood said.
In total, around 800 Pakistani exhibitors and delegates, including 100 students from various universities, are visiting the four-day exhibition (January 9-12, 2018).
“Pakistan is the fourth largest textile exporting county in the world and the exhibition helps us look at what our competitors including China, India and Bangladesh are presenting to the world,” another exhibitor added.
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) – an institution responsible for increasing the country’s exports – has facilitated around 55 exhibitors at the fair. It is the largest participation in any exhibition from Pakistan.
Pakistani companies are located in four levels of Hall 10 with premium exhibitors such as Gul Ahmed, Kamal Textile and Al-Karam Textile located in hall 10.2.
GSP Plus status
Despite GSP Plus status since 2014, Pakistan has been unable to improve its penetration into the European market while other competitors increased their share in EU trade.
For instance, Bangladesh’s exports to the EU have risen by 200% from $7.65 billion in 2006 to $22.87 billion in 2016. The GSP Plus status allows 70% of Pakistan’s exports on to enter EU market at preferential rates while 20% are at zero tariffs.
Total imports of the EU bloc in 2016 were around $5.22 trillion. Of this, Pakistani exports to the EU were $6.92 billion. Clothing and textiles exports amounted to more than 78% of total exports to the EU.
India and Vietnam have been able to increase their exports to the bloc the most. Vietnam has increased its exports by more than six times since 2003, and India by almost 2.4 times. Pakistan, on the other hand, has not been able to achieve similar growth numbers.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2018.