Pakistan’s newly appointed Minister for Commerce and Textile Muhammad Pervaiz Malik is mulish on boosting the country’s declining textile exports on priority by resolving traders’ issues. After assuming charge on August 8, Malik said that the government will take all appropriate measures to expedite the finalisation of Preferential and Free Trade Agreements with various countries.

Also informed that the process of paying tax refunds to the exporters will be expedited, one of the main issues of the business community. The Minister, an industrialist from the crisis-hit basic textile sector, was briefed on the three-year Strategic Trade Policy Framework, under which the government had set unrealistic exports target of $35 bn by June 2018, informed sources. The Textile Ministry was without a Minister for a long time, which was of the major reasons for decline in value added textile exports. Lack of technical upgrades in the sector in the last decade makes the Ministry’s job tough to manage substantial subsidies.

The country’s textile exports, which account for about 55 per cent of total exports, fell from $13.50 bn in 2013 to $12.1 bn in fiscal 2016-17. The export of value-added apparel, however, has not been affected by the decline. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) claims that 40 per cent of its capacities are closed due to high cost of doing business.