Pakistan's export growth

ISLAMABAD, Oct 31 (APP): Pakistan’s decision to loosen pandemic restrictions early has helped the country’s exports emerge stronger than its South Asian peers, Bloomberg reported Saturday.

Quoting data, Bloomberg in a report said, the outbound shipments have grown at a faster pace than Bangladesh and India as textiles, which account for half of the total export, led the recovery.

The country saw total shipments grow 7% in September, compared with New Delhi’s 6% and Dhaka’s 3.5%.

According to the report, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration was the first in the region to ease pandemic restrictions, allowing export units to reopen in April, a month after locking them down to stem the spread of Covid-19. This helped draw companies from to the South Asian nation.

“Pakistan has seen orders shifting from multiple nations including China, India and Bangladesh,” the report quoted Shahid Sattar, secretary general at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association as having said. “Garment manufacturers are operating near maximum capacity and many can’t take any orders for the next six months.”

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Even as lockdown curbs disrupted trade in India and Bangladesh for at least two months beginning late March, Pakistan was already making face masks and personal protective gear for export.

The South Asian nation also gained some orders from companies looking to diversify their supply chains amid the trade war between the U.S. and China, the world’s top textile exporter, despite factories there reopening as early as April.

“This war between two giants has given us new opportunities in polyester-cotton products,” the report quoted Khalid Mehmood, head of garment and home textile operations at Nishat Mills Ltd., the nation’s largest textile maker, having said.

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“So there is a six-month slot for Pakistan now to capture maximum number of customer that were China based.”

Executives from Nishat Mills and Interloop Ltd, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of socks that counts Nike Inc. and Adidas AG among its clients, said they have seen some orders diverted to them from China. Meanwhile, Gadoon Textile Mills Ltd has received orders redirected from Bangladesh, the world’s second-largest apparel exporter, and India, the third-largest textile exporter.

“The orders we were exporting to Europe and the U.S. have not recovered,” Muhammad Imran Moten, chief financial officer at Gadoon, said during an analyst briefing. “But diversion of orders from China and Bangladesh is the compensating factor.”