Indian and Pakistani textile and garment industries have their own unique strengths and they are not competitors, says Mr. Ibrahim Mahmood, Research Officer of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA).
Mr. Mahmood told fibre2fashion, “Pakistan is very competitive in cotton apparels and coarser yarns, while Indian textile and garment industry has its strength in synthetic apparels and fine yarns.”
“Hence, improvement in bilateral trade will benefit the textile industries of both the countries. The consumers of both the countries will also gain from greater choice,” he continues.
Informing about the steps taken by Pakistan to improve the trade relation with India, he says, “India and Pakistan have lifted ban on bilateral investment, while Pakistan has drastically reduced its sensitive list for India and the number of goods it imports from India will increase by 100 per cent.”
“Both sides are now working to open more land trade routes and investing to improve infrastructure such as roads and warehouses in order to improve trade relations,” he adds.
According to him, the way forward for the textile and apparel industry of whole South Asia is to have greater integration through strategic partnerships and better vertical integration.
“Pakistan is also working to meet its obligations to India under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) which would go beyond offering the MFN status and would involve the extension of tariff concessions agreed under the pact,” he informs.
Talking about the prospects of bilateral India-Pakistan clothing trade, he says, “Prospects of Pakistani apparel exports to India and vice versa are very bright and there is a great demand for Pakistan’s traditional womenswear and heavy fabrics such as denim, twills and drills of cotton in India.”
“Similarly, Indian synthetic and blended garments for men's suiting are well recognized in Pakistan,” he mentions.
Finally, he opines, “It is only a matter of time that the industries of both the countries recognize each other's strengths and develop it into greater business cooperation.”