Pakistan has been called on to utilise its political and diplomatic ties to boost its trade with the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) nations to support its domestic value added textile industry.
The ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization for promoting economic, technical and cultural cooperation among its ten Member States, viz. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Currently, Pakistan's textile item exports to ECO countries are not satisfactory and they stood at just US$ 49.81 million during 2010.
Dr. Shahzad Arshad, Chairman of Pakistan Cotton Fashion Apparel Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCFA) said the Pakistani value added textile industry is enduring difficult times as while exports volumes are dropping, inflation and fiscal deficit are mounting.
Thus, it has become vital for the domestic textile industry to find access to new markets so as to ensure its sustenance, and ECO nations could play a vital part in this, he added.
Dr. Arshad said that though Pakistan has earned access to some of the ECO countries, pursuant to inking of Transit Trade Agreement (TTA) with Afghanistan, it is essential that the Pakistan Government acts to speed up its efforts to ink the TTA with Central Asian countries by way of finalising the procedural protocols with Governments of respective countries.
Pakistan is in an advantageous situation as it is situated at the crossroads of Central Asia and Northern Asia, two of the world's most rapidly developing economic poles, and this for centuries has benefited the region where Pakistan exists today.
According to Dr. Shahzad, as majority of the ECO nations use TIR carnet convention, which has proved helpful in the promotion of intra-regional trade, Pakistan should also become a signatory to the same.
He recommended that Government of Iran should be urged to speed up the process of ratifying the mutual road transport agreement, which would open up road access for Pakistani exports to the EU and Turkish markets.
The PCFA Chairman added that Pakistan's diplomatic missions abroad should be urged to make efforts to boost the country's trade, while the Government should clear the outstanding duty drawback levy claims of the exporters.
Meanwhile, the European Union has also suggested that Pakistan should increase its trade ties with the ECO countries.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India