KARACHI: Fresh orders are being anticipated by country’s exporters who say the global slowdown, due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown in many countries, has created space for Pakistani exports.
The further added that while some export orders were cancelled, many are on hold but will resume once things normalise.
Pakistan witnessed a steep fall of 54 per cent in exports in April which has damaged the government’s confidence as it tries to control the repercussions of the pandemic.
Since March, the government has been providing several incentives to boost exports but the pandemic seems to be destroying this strategy.
“I believe most of the orders are on hold. These are orders which are for summer and are on hold while some have been cancelled,” said Zubair Motiwala, Chairman Council of Textile Association of Pakistan and the vice chairman of Businessmen Group.
“Interestingly, Americans are not ready to buy Chinese products due to the tariff war between the two countries and this has created space for Pakistani products, particularly for the textile sector,” he added.
Initially when the pandemic made its way to Pakistan, many exporters maintained that their orders were cancelled due to the fast spread of the virus.
“Not all export orders were cancelled. Our orders are intact but on hold. We will continue to export once the global markets is normal, even at the minimum level,” said Amir Azia, an exporter of readymade garments to Germany and other European countries.
The exporter added that many companies in Pakistan have orders on hold and are waiting for green signals to go ahead.
“We also expect fresh orders since the global markets which have faced lockdown for three months and this has created a large space for exporters,” said Amir.
“The export industry is currently working at 25pc of its capacity. In case of higher orders, the government must improve transportation so that workers can reach factories,” he opined.
Motiwala also said that Pakistan would get fresh orders from the USA. However, the global markets have significantly reduced by 40pc due to pandemic’s grave consequences, he noted.
“We have started exporting new products like medical masks on large scale to Europe and the USA,” he said.
He said Pakistan is exporting highly quality medical masks and other medical equipments which would help the country to reduce its sharp fall of exports in April.
The exporters urged the government to develop a new export policy after the pandemic. They also called for creating opportunities for new products, particularly low cost items.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2020