CPEC effect: Taiwanese textile companies may relocate to Pakistan

Published: November 17, 2019
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Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: Being a cheap labour market, Pakistan can transform into an excellent destination for Taiwanese textile companies, which are willing to relocate their units outside Vietnam, said Taiwan Textile Federation President Justin Huang.

“At present, Vietnam is crowded, which causes difficulties for Taiwanese textile firms there, such as labour shortages,” Justin said in an interview with The Express Tribune. “In Pakistan, however, labour issues will not emerge at least for the next 10 years and this is something attractive for us.”

He pointed out that China had invested massively in Pakistan’s infrastructure development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and stressed that Taiwanese businessmen could take maximum advantage from such investment.

Pakistan had a duty-free export agreement with the European Union and in December, the second phase of a free trade agreement (FTA) with China would also become functional, which would prove to be helpful for the Taiwanese investors and trade and industrial development in Pakistan, he said.

“We are different from China and other countries because we focus more on technical and functional textiles,” he emphasised.

Justin added that he would forward all the information collected from Pakistan to other federation members in Taiwan including the fact that Pakistan was a huge market of 200 million with excess labour and the government was willing to support foreign investment.

The federation president expressed the resolve to devise a mechanism for enhancing trade and investment collaboration between Taiwan and Pakistan in the textile and garments sector. He was of the view that Pakistan’s textile industry produced excellent products for home use and had the capacity to produce quality apparel as well.

“If things follow the right direction, we will transfer new technologies and manufacturing processes to Pakistan, which will facilitate the country in upgrading its products,” Justin stressed.

“After that, Pakistan will not have to compete with China or Bangladesh on price issues and the country will be able to add value to its products.”

Textile companies based in Taiwan have already designed products for global brands like Nike and Adidas. Sixteen teams in the football World Cup 2018 used Taiwan-based fabric in their kits.

He voiced hope that the FTA with China would also assist Taiwanese companies, which had already invested in China and had set up their units in the country.

“Our officials can bring in their work experience to Pakistan along with the academia to train the local human resources,” he pointed out. “In future, Pakistan will need a lot of textile engineers, hence, there is a need to provide sufficient training to them so that the country can utilise its manpower.”

He also stressed the need for easing the visa approval process for the Taiwanese investors.

“Right now, it is difficult for us to visit Pakistan due to a long process of applying for the entrance visa,” he said. “It took me more than three weeks to get approval for Pakistani visa.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2019.

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