Pakistan's textile industry is asking for greater access to the US and European Union markets as it struggles for survival after floods devastated the country. Textile makers are asking for support to help make up for the losses.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters in Islamabad that the EU was mulling a meeting of its foreign ministers to discuss providing flood assistance to Pakistan, and possibly greater market access for Pakistani products.
Some products from Pakistan enter the EU market duty-free or at a reduced rate, but textile products such as bed linen and towels, which account for more than 65 percent of its exports to the EU, still face a 12 percent tariff. Pakistan's total textile exports stood at over $10 billion in the 2009/10 financial year (July-June), of which about $6 billon worth of textile products went to the United States and the European Union.
The floods also damaged up to 2 million bales of cotton, and traders say Pakistan will have to import up to 3 million bales to make up for a shortfall. Pakistan produced 12.7 million bales in the 2009/10 (July-June) financial year, when the country had to import about 2 million bales, and was hoping to harvest 14 million from the 2010/11 crop.
The textile sector is the source of over half the country's exports and about 40 percent of manufacturing jobs. Low output could further add to Pakistan's trade deficit. The government is working towards the proposal of appropriate measures to help the textile sector.