LAHORE: Carpet exports registered a decline of more than 10 per cent during the first half of the current fiscal year (2014-15).

Carpet exports have fallen despite free market access to Pakistan’s textile products in EU countries under the GSP-Plus status.

The country has already suffered a decline of over 50 per cent during the last seven years as hand-made carpets export fell to $120 million from $300m, depriving almost 0.5m people of direct employment.

In a statement issued here on Friday, Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA) Chairman Usman Ghani said that the government needs to incorporate hand-knotted carpets in free trade agreements with China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and Brazil as handmade carpets have not been included in any such agreement.

The shortage of electricity, bad law and order situation, soaring inflation, shortage of skilled labour and high mark-up rates are the reasons of sharp decline in carpet exports, Mr Ghani added.

The GSP Plus facility has restricted some drop in carpets exports, otherwise, this decline might have been more than 20pc with this free trade access facility, he added.

Pakistan has to make extra efforts to promote exports by arranging trade fairs and exhibitions, he said.

He said that stability of our economy would help us overcome challenges facing the country, particularly war against terrorism.

Published in Dawn January 24th , 2015

News Source: Dawn