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Pakistan Eyes Growth

Pakistan readies itself to become a prime contender in global textiles.

TW Special Report

T he Pakistan textile industry is determined to play an increasingly significant role in the post-quota textile marketplace.

With China and India dominating the post-textile-quota spotlight, Pakistan has not been recognized immediately as an up-and-coming textile manufacturing powerhouse. But, the numbers tell quite a different story - one of growing strength and determination to share a piece of the global market.


According to a 2002-03 chairman's review issued by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), the textile industry in Pakistan has been the largest single contributor to the country's economy. There has been a substantial increase in textile production capacity and in raw material consumption. The exports of textiles, especially those of value-added goods, have increased substantially. The industry is the largest contributor to Pakistan's gross domestic product - more than 11 percent - and generator of employment, hiring about 40 percent of the manufacturing workforce. APTMA reports numerous new investments have been made to upgrade existing facilities, as well as to build greenfield projects. The major areas of investments, which amounted to nearly $3.2 billion in the past several years, are capacity expansion, product diversification and development of higher-value-added products.

In fact, textiles is such an important industry that the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce declared the end of textile quotas earlier this year as having a profound impact on our predominant sector. It also said the growth in exports in the past several years provided the country a degree of confidence in facing the upcoming world competition in this sector.

The transformation of Pakistan's textile industry began in 1999, when, according to APTMA, there was a change in the national mindset and an improvement in the relationship between the government and the business community. An understanding was reached that the government and the business sector should work together in public-private partnership to better Pakistan's economy.

APTMA credits such a partnership with being a key factor in building investor confidence, which has resulted in the phenomenal growth of the textile industry.

Export Growth
According to the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce, textile exports generated $7.17 billion 67 percent of the country's total exports in fiscal year 2003 to 2004 (the latest year for which data are available), representing an increase of 24 percent from the previous year. More importantly, three categories - bedwear, woven garments and knitwear - each crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time. The ministry said the growth can be attributed to greater access allowed by the European Union, investments made by the textile sector for expansion, and the prudent handling by the government of its cotton policy and quota management policy.

To sustain overall export growth, the Pakistan Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has outlined a strategy that promotes the country's core product categories, which include raw cotton yarn, fabrics, garments, made-up articles, towels and textiles produced with man-made fibers. The EPB reported it will increase the penetration of these core products to Pakistan's top 10 export countries. Meanwhile, it also has identified less-explored regions, including Africa, Eastern Europe, South America, Central Asia and Oceania, which provide significant export opportunities.

Production Growth
The textile sector in Pakistan is made up of both large-scale companies and small- and medium-sized workshops engaged in every aspect of manufacturing, from cotton ginning to spinning and weaving to processing. Main products include greige and printed fabrics, home textiles, towels, hosiery, knitwear and ready-made garments. According to APTMA, there are 453 textile mills in the country with 7.6 million spindles and 70,000 rotors in operation. The capacity utilization rate for spindles is 83 percent, while the rate for rotors is 47 percent.

From 2002 to 2003, cotton yarn production increased to 1,924,900 metric tons from 1,818,300 metric tons in the previous year, representing a growth of 5.8 percent.

Cotton fabric production in the mill sector increased marginally by 2.4 percent from 2002 to 2003, according to APTMA numbers. For the non-mill sector, a much more significant growth rate of 14.6 percent was registered.

The Pakistan textile industry uses nearly 11 million bales of cotton every year, and it relies heavily on its homegrown production. In addition, it also is the second-largest importer of US pima cotton, which it uses in the manufacturing of high-count yarns for value-added products. Cotton consumption has increased from an average of one bale per spindle per year to nearly two bales per spindle per year. APTMA projects that by 2007, Pakistan's spinning industry will consume at least 15 million bales of cotton annually.

Currently, the country ranks fourth among 70 listed cotton-growing countries in terms of output; however, the government is motivated to move up in the ranks in the near future by increasing both the per-acre yield and the area under cultivation. More importantly, the government is working with cotton growers to produce higher-grade contamination-free cotton for use in the production of higher-end products that generate a higher price. Today, the country loses about $1.4 billion in annual income because of the poor quality of its cotton, according to APTMA.

Textile Vision 2005
In the years leading up to the elimination of textile quotas in 2005, Pakistan prepared itself for the new marketplace with a long-term strategic plan called Textile Vision 2005. In addition to initiatives in monetary policies, marketing and governance, among others, the program spearheaded by the government's Board of Investment has proposed an investment of 333 billion rupees for the balancing, modernization and renovation of the textile sector.

Adhering to this strategy, the industry imported $370 million worth of machinery between 2000 and 2001, and $405 million worth of machinery between 2001 and 2002. So far, investments of 23.03 billion rupees in spinning, 5.27 billion rupees in weaving, 4.41 billion rupees in polyester fiber manufacturing, and 3.37 billion rupees in knitting have been made.

With well-laid plans and a determination to succeed, Pakistan no doubt soon will join the world stage as a significant textile supplier.

IGATEX 2005: New Format
Serves Different Textile Sectors

This year, the International Garment, Textile and Leather Machinery and Accessories Exhibition (IGATEX) Pakistan is trying something new. Organizers of the annual event have split the show in two according to textile industry sectors: The textile machinery exhibition will take place April 13-16, while the garment and leather machinery, accessories and fabrics exhibition will be staged April 25-28. Both will take place at the Karachi Expo Centre in Pakistan. According to Judy Lee, director of the show, the decision was made to separate the shows because IGATEX has grown so substantially in the past several years. Both exhibitions are organized by Singapore-based Conference and Exhibition Management Services Pte. Ltd. and Pakistan-based Pegasus Consultancy (Pvt.) Ltd. Both shows have the support of many industry and government bodies, including the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce, the Pakistan Export Promotion Bureau, the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and APTMA, among others.

Show organizers project IGATEX 2005 will attract 30,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors from 25 countries. This forecast represents a slight drop in size compared to last year's event, which hosted 423 exhibitors and more than 50,000 visitors. As with IGATEX 2004, Turkey again will be the show's partner country this year. Turkey's pavilion is expected to occupy more than 800 square meters. Other country pavilions will represent companies in China and Taiwan.In addition to their own exhibits, exhibiting companies will host technical seminars for show attendees.

For more information, contact Judy Lee 65 6278 8666; fax 65 6278 4077; judy@cemssvs.com/sg/; www.igatexpakistan.com.

March 2005