LAHORE: All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) would launch a new initiative from Jan 1, 2014 to improve the image of Pakistani textiles around the world to double the industry’s exports to $26 billion over the next three to four years in the wake of free market access from the European Union.

The initiative — Triple Bottom Line (TBL) — is meant to make and project the entire textile supply chain environment-friendly and socially responsible industry towards the people. Aptma has already hired a Dubai-based Pakistani businessman and lobbyist, Raza Jaffar, for implementing the TBL (Planet, People and Profit) initiative and improving the image of the industry.

It also plans to organise textile shows in the US and European countries to create contacts with major buyers in those markets.

Aptma chairman Ahsan Bashir said a comprehensive strategy was being evolved to take full advantage of the free market access under the EU’s GSP+ system.

He said the new government had largely solved the energy problem of the textile industry in Punjab, at least for the time being, which has helped capacity utilization to 90pc.

“Now growth in textile trade is our next target. We are aiming for $30bn exports.”

Bangladesh, which purchases cotton, yarn and fabric from Pakistan and elsewhere for its industry, has increased its textile exports from $5bn to almost $27bn in last eight years after obtaining free market access from the EU and is aiming for $40bn in next few years.

Aptma leader Gohar Ejaz said the decrease in China’s share in the world textile trade to $270bn from $300bn in last one year and the EU’s GSP+ trade incentives for Pakistan had opened a big window of opportunity for Pakistan to not only push its textile exports to the world but also produce a trade surplus to help the government overcome its current account woes in the next 3-4 years.

He said Aptma had already adopted a number of initiatives during the last three years to comply with international business practices and was financing cotton research in the country to improve quantity and quality both.

He said several Chinese textile companies had expressed their intention to set up joint ventures with the Pakistani manufacturers because textile trade in China had become expensive.

Another Aptma leader Aamir Fayyaz said an integrated policy was being formulated to convince international customers that Pakistan had a reliable textile chain for business purposes.

He said the GSP+ opportunity may also bring new challenges for the country’s textile industry and Aptma was preparing its members to meet those challenges.

Raza said triple bottom line was a widely adapted form of corporate social responsibility where organisations were responsible both nationally and internationally for betterment of societies.

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