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News Clips 25 November, 2014


[ Exports to EU rise to $5 billion in Jan-August ]
[ Textile policy: Ministries vastly differ over crucial parts of draft ]
[ Prime Minister's attendance at Textile Summit to show his concern about sector ]

Exports to EU rise to $5 billion in Jan-August   [ top ]

The News, November 25, 2014
ISLAMABAD: At the time when Pakistan’s overall exports are falling because of energy outages and exchange rate appreciation, its exports to European Union increased 18 percent to $5.009 billion during the first eight months (Jan-August) of this year after the GSP (generalised scheme of preferences) Plus.

The exports to EU were recorded at $4.2420 billion in the same period a year earlier, official data showed on Monday.

Pakistan’s exports to EU went up to $695 million in January 2014 compared to $531 million in the same month of the last year 2013, registering a growth of 30.81 percent. This growth declined to nine percent in February 2014 when the exports fetched $552 million as against $502 million in the same month of the last year.

The exports to EU stood at $611 million in March, $593 million in April, $606 million in May, $625 million in June, $702 million in July and $621 million in August during this calendar year. The minimum increase in exports to EU was witnessed during April 2014 when the country’s exports went up by only 5.12 percent.

Textile exports to EU increased to $3.512 billion in the first eight months as against $2.894 billion in the same period of last year.

The exports of home textile rose to $1.129 billion in Jan-August 2014 as against $891 million in the corresponding period a year earlier. The exports of textile garments and hosiery to EU stood at $1.655 billion as against $1.315 billion.

The exports of intermediary goods of textiles and raw cotton to EU increased to $700 million in Jan-Aug 2014 as against $660 million in the same period of last year. The exports of carpets to EU stood at $26.88 million compared with $26.44 million.

The footwear exports to EU were recorded at $70.77 million in Jan-Aug this year as against $55.95 million in the same months last year. The leather exports of Pakistan to EU stood at $419 million in the first eight months of 2014 as against $379 million in the same period of last year.

The exports of articles of leather to EU stood at $317 million in the first eight months of 2014 as against $287 million in the same period of last year.

The exports of plastics to EU fetched $72 million in the first eight months in 2014 as against $37.22 million in the similar period a year ago. 

Textile policy: Ministries vastly differ over crucial parts of draft   [ top ]

Business Recorder, November 25, 2014
The proposed textile policy (2014-19) has been delayed after serious differences among key ministries over crucial parts of the policy including, gas supply, Export Development Fund (EDF) and development projects, it is learnt. The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet met on October 30, 2014 to discuss a draft textile policy in detail and sought improvements in various proposals mooted in the draft. 

For the purpose, a Committee headed by Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal was constituted to review the draft policy till November 15 after which it would be placed before the ECC for approval. Official sources told Business Recorder that Ahsan Iqbal sought proposals from all stakeholder ministries but several reportedly failed to submit their inputs. After receiving a negative response, Ahsan Iqbal sought an additional month to finalise the draft, urging all ministries to submit their inputs. 

According to the draft of the textile policy, the government will take measures to give priority to textile sector for availability of gas and electricity to fully utilise the GSP plus status. However, the Petroleum Ministry informed the Finance Minister-led committee on energy issues for textile industry that no gas would be available for textile industry during winter though gas supply would continue till the final decision of the committee. 

In case of gas suspension the proposed textile policy would become irrelevant before its announcement which explains why Ahsan Iqbal has sought an additional time to resolve the issue in consultations with all stakeholders. Further, ministries of Commerce and Textile Industry are not on the same page in respect to ownership and utilisation of billions of rupees in the EDF. The federal government collects 0.25 percent as EDF on almost 85 percent exports and deposits it in the accounts of Finance Ministry - a fund utilised for the development of export-oriented sectors. Contribution of textile sector to EDF is 55 percent. Annual collection of EDF hovers around Rs 5 billion per annum but the Finance Ministry has, on average, released about Rs 1 billion per annum to the Commerce Ministry for different projects. 

Commerce Ministry utilises EDF for projects approved by the EDF Board headed by the Minister for Commerce. However, now Textile Ministry wants its due share in the EDF, said sources, adding that Commerce Ministry failed to submit its input to the Ahsan Iqbal-led committee. 

The proposed textile policy envisages textile exports of the country at $26 billion, besides creating 3 million job opportunities in next the five years. However, it requires about Rs 120 billion, including Rs 45 billion outstanding amount under different schemes of the previous policy, to achieve the export targets. The government is facing a financial crisis and the Ministry has reportedly been asked to rationalise projects in the proposed textile policy, sources added. 

Prime Minister's attendance at Textile Summit to show his concern about sector   [ top ]

Business Recorder, November 25, 2014
Will the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rely upon textile industry to generate exports and employment in country or not depends upon his seriousness in attending the Pakistan Textile Summit by Ministry of Textile Industry scheduled for November 27, in the city, said textile industry circles. 

Talking to this scribe, they said textile industry was looking towards the Prime Minister so far as uninterrupted energy supply, including electricity and gas, is concerned in winter. Already, they have taken a deep sigh of relief with the concern showed by the Prime Minister in relation to the gas supply to the Punjab-based textile mills in winter. 

However, there are yet apprehensions that the positive attitude of the government is till the day the PTI holds its much-awaited November 30 public gathering in Islamabad. They said there were growing concerns that the relief in gas supply would be withdrawn soon the government got through the challenge of November 30. Therefore, these circles also doubt about the presence of the PM in the Pakistan Textile Summit in the city. 

The Pakistan Textile Summit is bridging the gap between the industry and the policy makers to carve out a workable textile policy for next five years to counter the billions dollars textile policy of the Indian government. 

According to the industry circles, availability of energy on affordable price is the cornerstone of this policy. They said textile industry had lost over one billion dollar exports in quantity terms during last seven to eight months due to energy crisis. "Soon the government has supplied energy to the Punjab-based mills, there is a surge of about six percent in exports at present," they added. 

It may be noted that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has been strong supporter of uninterrupted energy supply during his last five years tenure. However, no big activity has been witnessed yet despite the lapse of one and a half year of the PML-N government in the centre.