According to Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq, Pakistan and China are moving towards greater economic cooperation. A senior PFC delegation is currently on a visit to China along with the prime minister’s entourage in a bid to enhance mutual cooperation in trade and technology.
Ashfaq added that Pakistani premier was warmly welcomed in China and the perception about Pakistan after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came to power was positive. “Chinese stakeholders are interested in pouring money into Pakistan,” he said. “They discussed joint ventures in different sectors including the furniture manufacturing industry.”
Discussing an international exhibition going on in China, Ashfaq said Pakistan’s furniture manufacturers were focusing on contemporary designs with an innovative touch besides showcasing traditional and handmade furniture in the fair. “We want to diversify exports and search new partners for conducting business,” he added.
He pointed out that Pakistan exported furniture and related products worth $8-12 million annually, but the figure did not reflect the industry’s true potential and its capacity to produce high-quality furniture. He suggested that Pakistani exporters should actively participate in international furniture shows and exhibitions in an attempt to highlight their ability to produce eye-catching products.
Ashfaq stressed that Chinese technology could help upgrade Pakistan’s furniture sector and utilise its untapped potential. He was of the view that Pakistan had immense potential to promote itself among the Chinese business community as the country provided excellent business opportunities.
“Pakistan’s business community is not only targeting to enhance exports to China, but is also striving to strengthen the partnership that will facilitate growth in trade with major partners,” he said and cited the UK, Germany and Spain as potential partners. He appreciated the PFC for bringing latest technical knowhow to Pakistan in order to develop the furniture industry and bring it on a par with the international market.
He emphasised that Pakistan could further enhance the quality of its furniture products if joint ventures were formed and machinery was provided on lease by China to furniture manufacturers in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2018.