LAHORE: Pakistani textile millers, particularly producers of synthetic fabrics, are suspicious of their Indian counterparts due to the fact that the neighbouring country might corner the market of synthetic fibre in Pakistan as local industry continues to limp due to domestic issues.
Indian textile millers are showcasing their synthetic fibre and rayon products at the two-day Intexpo Pakistan exhibition in Karachi and Lahore.
“We welcome bilateral trade; however we cannot provide easy ground to the Indians,” said Mian Anjum Nisar, owner if ATS Synthetic, a Lahore bases textile manufacturer. Pakistan’s textile industry is efficient in coastal accounts – thick thread products used in producing denims, bed sheets – whereas India has an edge in final accounts – thin thread fabrics used in making dopattas, sarees – he said.
However, if Pakistan was able to resolve its internal threats in the shape of prevailing energy crisis and security situation in Karachi, then Pakistan can outperform the region in textile, he said.
The domestic synthetic-based textile industry represents 20% of the Pakistani textile industry, and lacks modern techniques, thus textile gurus believe that Indians already knew about the weakness and were targeting to capture the market. The local industry believes that the Indian government was subsidising their textile sector to boost up exports; their departments were quick to respond, whereas the case was reversed in Pakistan. They requested the Pakistan government to upgrade the National Tariff Commission to cope up with the issues especially after the bilateral trade agreement.
On the other side of the coin, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), mainly dealer of coastal accounts, seem all right with the visit of the Indian textile millers. “This will end the monopoly of few firms which are dominating the synthetic fabric sector,” said Aptma Chairman Ahsan Bashir. Fibre prices are too high in Pakistan; competition will help in reduction of prices and make the industry more viable, he added.
Moreover, the Indian counterparts seemed very interested in the Pakistani market. Vinod Kumar Ladia, chairman of the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC), India signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry for promoting mutual relations and dissemination of trade related information. Ladia stressed the need for joint ventures between the two countries as both sides had a lot to offer to each other.
“Pakistani businessmen must not look at Indian counterparts as competitors but as collaborators,” Ladia said. Businessmen of the two sides should chalk out plans for mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, business and supply arrangements, he added.
More than 35 leading Indian textile companies were exhibiting their latest range of products that offered Pakistani businessmen a unique opportunity and ample proof that we were more than willing to take our Pakistani counterparts along, Ladia said. He said that the Intexpo 2012 had set the stage to develop close linkages between the private sectors representatives of two countries as it had always been a dream of the business community of India and Pakistan to hold a sector specific exhibition in each other’s countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2012
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