LAHORE: Carpet manufacturers and exporters have expressed their reservations as many orders have been cancelled following imposition of 42.2 per cent Safeguard Measures Duty (SMD) by the Turkish government on Pakistani products.

In a letter to Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan, the Pakistan Carpet Manufac­turers and Exporters Association (PCMEA) stated that carpet exports registered a decline of over 10pc in the first half of 2014-15 despite free market access to the EU under GSP+ scheme.

This is at the top of 50pc dip in exports in the last seven years, which fell to $128 million from $300m in 2007-08, the association said.

“Turkey, the second largest importer of Pakistani handmade carpets, has imposed 42.2pc customs duty on 130 Pakistani products including hand-knotted carpet, leading to a further decline in carpet exports,” said PCMEA Chairman, Usman Ghani and Vice-Chairman, Qamar Zia in the letter.

The Turkish Ministry of Economy had imposed SMD on Pakistani products from February 17, 2015.

The association leaders said that after the announcement of this additional SMD, buyers slashed orders from Pakistani exporters.

As a result, all shipments at Karachi which were waiting for customs clearance are being sent back to Punjab.

The association said that the government needs to incorporate hand-knotted carpets in Free Trade Agreements with other countries.

Almost 100pc of carpets produced in Pakistan are exported, providing around 600pc value addition to our products, the association said.

“The hand-knotted carpet sector represents small industry located in the remotest and most poverty stricken areas of Pakistan. We provide direct labour to the most under-privileged and uneducated 5pc strata of our society. Around 70pc of work force of this sector comprises young women who make carpets at home,” PCMEA said.

The association deman­ded that the government immediately takes up this issue with the Turkish government and gets the duty withdrawn.

News Source: DAWN