‘Time for New Delhi, Islamabad to rework strategies and tap trade potential'

Stating that it was time for both India and Pakistan to re-work their trade strategies, and tap the huge potential, especially in energy, petrochemicals, textiles and cotton, the All Pakistan Textiles Mills Association (APTMA) has called for removal of all non-tariff barriers to ensure free trade of cotton and textile products.

“It is time for India and Pakistan to set the international trend and price in the field of textiles and cotton trade. Together both the countries account for nearly 40 per cent of the world's cotton production. Pakistan produces around 15 million cotton bales and India around 34 million bales. While India has a share of $25 billion in world textile exports, Pakistani exports stand around $5 billion which was hardly anything substantial if the $800 billion world trade size in textiles is kept in mind. We need to join hands to set the trend and even beat China,” APTMA chairman Gohar Ijaz told The Hindu.

Cotton shortage

Mr. Ijaz, who has been nominated as the chairman of the Task Force on Energy, said Pakistan had faced shortage of cotton but its production had increased this year by 30 per cent after last year's worst floods. “We should charge international value for our cotton. Pakistan is a deficit state as far as cotton is concerned and India is surplus. We can change the international trend, if we join hands,” he remarked.

Stating that he was for free and liberal trade, Mr. Ijaz said Pakistan had a huge market potential for Indian exports in the areas of raw material for textiles, synthetic textiles, polymer and geo textiles. “Why should we explore international sectors for textile trade? We can join hands and even have production bases in Pakistan where labour is available and then export products at our will to various players across the globe,” he said.

Giant step forward

Terming the notification of the “negative list” a giant step forward, Mr. Ijaz said India had now to respond with positive steps and work on removing non-tariff barriers to facilitate enhanced trade and economic engagement.

“This is also a big step that allows larger people-to- people exchange allowing businesses from both sides to meet each other regularly and explore potential for future business opportunities, especially in the field of energy including petrochemical trade,” he stated.

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