US shows interest in Pakistan’s traditional furniture

There is scope for promotion of Pak-US furniture trade, says PFC chief

Our Correspondent February 10, 2018
There is scope for promotion of Pak-US furniture trade, says PFC chief. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: A delegation of furniture producers from the US has shown keen interest in Pakistan's handmade traditional furniture on their visit to Pakistan to explore the local market.

They underlined the need of further enhancing collaboration with the Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) to promote business between the two countries.

Briefing the delegation, Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq said there is significant potential for the promotion of Pak-US furniture trade.

He said there are plenty of opportunities to increase the volume of furniture export, as the demand for furniture and wooden products is on the rise in the US and European markets, along with domestic consumers. "Only the US furniture demand at the manufacturers' level is forecast to reach $59 billion in 2021," he said, adding the opportunity is huge, but the sector needs a large number of skilled workers to meet rising demand.

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"We are making special efforts to increase furniture export catering to the rising global demand. Another driver in the US market is the improving residential construction market, as the real estate industry is expected to drive the home furniture market in the next few years."

This will be due to the increasing number of people engaged in household formation. There has been a significant rise in the number of women joining the workforce and living independently. As a result, there is a rising need for service apartments and single story houses, he added.

"American buyers prefer to buy value-priced and high quality finished goods for dining and bedroom, leather and fabric upholstery, occasional and youth furniture."

He said due to social media, great designs have become more accessible and customers now know what they want. He further said many American customers are getting rid of their traditional furniture in exchange for something more modern. "I realised you have to be slightly out of your mind to be warehousing large products in New York, when opportunities for land, building and labour are so much more advantageous here," said Ashfaq.

"The furniture industry caters to various categories and trends that change quickly, and it is vital for us to offer items that reflect these fast trends. The PFC will work closely with trend experts to create new items to ensure we cover these lifestyles, and our goal for new intros is to offer the perfect item reflecting consumers' demands."

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2018.

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