Pakistan Furniture Council to launch e-commerce unit to discover markets

CEO says they are planning to target Middle Eastern nations

Shahram Haq April 07, 2019
Furniture manufacturers are assessing the price compatibility of raw material and whether it is viable to directly import from any country. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) has announced to launch their electronic commerce unit, in a bid to effectively promote and discover new targeted markets for local stuff.

Since e-commerce is essential for doing business across the borders more effectively, the council is planning to establish a proper warehouse and logistics system to feed their initiative.

Initially, PFC will target few countries, primarily Middle Eastern nations. “We cannot target the whole world so we have to focus on few selected countries like Saudi Arabia,” PFC Chief Executive Officer Mian Kashif Ashfaq told The Express Tribune.

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He further said the choices of these nations are similar to ours and we hope for a good breakthrough from Saudis as two major players are ready to buy furniture from Pakistan. “We are also studying the dynamics of other potential countries where we can meet design, product quality and price requirements,” Ashfaq remarked.

Sharing initiatives to boost the local industry, Ashfaq said that PFC managed to bring a team of experts from Malaysia to facilitate locals as they believe that Pakistani manpower lacks expertise in finishing products.

As per Ashfaq, TEVTA has collaborated with them by sharing 50% expenses for training sessions. He said that with this initiative the council will bring experts from best markets to teach locals so their expertise could rise at par with modern furniture markets.

He said that currently furniture exports stood at roughly Rs500 million, however, in the coming years the council plans to increase this figure to $1 billion.  “This is a realistic target, which could be achieved in five years if things continue to flow smoothly. We have already managed to cut the import size by 25% and this was done by targeted exhibitions.”

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However, the primary issue that persists for this sector is the availability of raw material. “Raw material is an issue as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has banned the wood. In Punjab, there is selected wood. Our cost of wood is increasing due to this shortage,” he said, adding that the only option is importing the wood.

He said that they were calculating the price compatibility and if it becomes viable to directly import from any country, then they will present a complete plan to the Ministry of Commerce to gain some support in taxes.

The CEO further shared that they are engaged in efforts to collaborate some local manufacturers with Chinese counterparts under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2019.

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