Pakistan is the 4th largest producer of cotton with an annual production of around 9.5 million 480lb bales. China is the largest producer of cotton fiber with 32 million bales production in 2013-14, followed by India (29.5 million bales) and USA (12.9 million bales). Bangladesh produces just around 0.12 million bales of cotton annually but it is the second largest exporter of cotton T-shirts, singlets and vests in the world while Pakistan stands at number 25. Pakistani share in the world raw cotton production is around 8% while Bangladeshi share is just 0.1%. Nevertheless, annual Bangladeshi exports of cotton T-shirts stood at around US$4.25 billion in 2013 whereas Pakistani exports of cotton T-shirts were just US$212 million. Bangladeshi share in the world cotton T-shirt exports was 16.2% while Pakistani share was just 0.8%. Table 1 gives a list of the top world exporters of cotton T-shirts. It is clear from Figure 1 that there has been a sharp growth in cotton T-Shirts exports from Bangladesh over the last 5 years whereas there is a slight decreasing trend in the exports from Pakistan.

Total world trade of cotton-rich textile yarns (comprising >/=85% cotton) stood at around US$14.6 billion in 2013. With around US$2.2 billion worth of exports, Pakistan managed to get a share of approx. 15% in the global trade of cotton-rich yarns. That makes Pakistan the second largest world exporter of cotton yarns in the world. While Pakistan has a good share of exports (about 15%) in the US$14.6 billion worth of cotton yarn market but its share in the US$26.3 billion worth of value-added cotton T-shirt market is just 0.8%. It is clear that something is seriously wrong in the priorities and policies set by Pakistan in terms of exports of cotton-based products. The share of low-value cotton yarn exports is too high but the share of high-value cotton apparel is too low.

Figure 2 shows top 10 importers of cotton T-shirts from around the world. It is clear from Figure 3 that more than 80% exports of Pakistani cotton T-shirts are concentrated in just two countries (i.e. USA and UK). As a whole 21% of Pakistani cotton T-shirts go to European Union countries (Figure 4).

USA is the largest importer of cotton T-shirts and Pakistan is 12th largest exporter to USA. Others top exporters are given in Figure 5. Germany is the second largest importer of cotton T-shirts and Pakistan is the 26th largest exporter to Germany while Bangladesh is the top exporter, followed by Turkey, China and India (Figure 6). United Kingdom is the fourth largest importer of cotton T-shirts and Pakistan is the 16th largest exporter to UK while Bangladesh is the top exporter followed by Turkey, India, China and Sri Lanka (Figure 7). Fourth largest importer of cotton T-shirts is France and Pakistan is the 25th largest exporter to France whereas Bangladesh is the top exporter followed by China, India and Turkey (Figure 8). Fifth largest importer of cotton T-shirts is Japan and Pakistan is the 27th largest exporter to Japan in terms of T-shirts. Top cotton T-shirts exporter to Japan is China, followed by Viet Nam, Bangladesh and Thailand (Figure 9).


Being the fourth largest producer of raw cotton, performance of Pakistan in the export of cotton T-shirts is extremely poor. Bangladesh has very strong position in terms of cotton T-shirts exports. Pakistan will have to make a lot of effort to compete with the regional competitors like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, China and Turkey in order to increase its share in the international market of cotton T-shirts. Hardly any tilt in the Pak government policies and any moves in the Pak industry are visible at the moment in that direction.

Table 1: Top Exporters of Cotton T-Shirts, Singlets and Vests in 2013


Table 2: Top world importers of cotton T-shirts, Singlets and Vests in 2013