LAHORE: Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA) has asked the government to focus on image building in the global market in luring foreign buyers back to Pakistan.
The Ministry of Information and Culture and Commerce Ministry, by directly involving the handmade carpet industry, should build soft image of the country abroad with a view to enhance export, convincing buyers in Europe and United States to seek ‘Made in Pakistan’ tag on the hand-knotted carpets again.
Former PCMEA chairman and chief organiser of the Pakistan Handmade Carpet Exhibition 2015 Major (r) Akhtar Nazir Cooki said that it was encouraging for the exporters to have meeting with the PM who spent five hours and listened to each and every export-oriented sector. Latif Malik and Khawaja Shakir were also accompanying him in the meeting.
He also appreciated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir and FPCCI President Mian Adrees for assuring full support for boosting industrial production, especially promoting handmade carpet export.
“We should arrange maximum exhibitions in the world to convince the international buyers to import Pakistani handmade carpets by portraying the soft image of the country. Unfortunately, Pakistan is presently participating only in two exhibitions including Shanghai Domotex, China and Hanover Tex, Germany, while rest of the world like America, South America, Africa and Far East are being totally neglected,” he emphasised.
The participation of Pakistani carpet industry in tow exhibition has now been made so costly by the TDAP that it is very difficult to exhibit our products there, said Cooki. “India is our direct competitor which is giving huge incentives to exporters and exhibitors and Pakistan should also follow this trend to lift its dropping exports,” he urged.
The government, on the patron of Handicraft Council of India, should form Pakistan Handicraft Council to promote export, as the Indian Handicraft Council alone is exporting as much as Pakistan’s total export is, he urged.
PCMEA Chairman Usman Ghani stressed the need for convincing foreign buyers, who hesitate to visit Pakistan due to wrong propaganda, that hand-knotted industry of Pakistan is free from bonded labour, besides promoting women entrepreneurship in the country.
He said that Pakistani carpet industry, which is one of the largest environment-friendly sectors, providing jobs to over 1.5 million people without polluting the atmosphere. The EU countries and Americas should be informed that carpet sector is also helping improve literacy rate in the country by establishing schools for workers’ children.
Qamar Zia said that the image building drive, run by the Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with the PCMEA, will not only facilitate the foreign entrepreneurs, but also highlight the soft image of the country. It will accelerate trade and investment, besides boosting the declining tourism sector.
Pakistan has to make an extra effort in promoting carpet exports from Pakistan, as the energy crisis, corruption and terrorism have sent a bad message abroad, he added.
“We provide direct labour to the most under-privileged and uneducated bottom of 5 percent strata of our society and around 70 percent of work force of this sector comprises young women who make carpets at home,” he added.