Surat, the country's biggest manufacturer of man-made fabric has increase its export of (MMF) fabrics to Pakistan by 200 percent since 2011-12, a welcome development considering the hassled relations between the two countries.
According to Synthetic and Rayon Textile Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC), total export from India to Pakistan from April 2014 to January 2015 witnessed 20 percent increase at Rs 2,400 crore compared to the same period in previous year . The fabric export to Pakistan is predicted to touch Rs 3,000 crore by the end of this financial year.
Mostly Muslims and Sindhi and Punjabi Hindus, exported dress materials, saris, fabrics worth Rs 1,300 crore to Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore via Mumbai, Delhi, Dubai and Bangladesh from April 2014 to January 2015-an increase of 30 percent over previous year as per Surti traders.
While the export of fabric to the USA and UAE has remained unchanged at $500 million and $400 million per annum respectively, to Pakistan it has witnessed a phenomenal growth from $169 million in 2012-13 to $400 million in 2014-15. Interestingly, 60 percent of it was exported from country's biggest man-made fibre industry in Surat.
SRTEPC assistant director Tejal Mewar said that after the USA and UAE, Pakistan is an important destination for MMF export from India. As Surat happens to be the largest MMF hub, the export of fabrics has witnessed a tremendous growth here over the last few years. Four years ago, the export to Pakistan was just below $100 million, but now it is likely to cross $450 million by March 2015.
The direct export from Surat to Pakistan would be in the range of Rs 400 to Rs 500 crore per annum. A huge quantity of Surti fabric is exported via Dubai and Bangladesh. However, there is no record available with the council for such exports.
Pakistan's textile industry is cotton based. Thus, it depends heavily on China and India for MMF imports. Surti fabrics are in huge demand in Pakistan as they are used for value-addition in burqas, sherwanis, suits, salwars etc, according to Devkishan Manghani, chairman of textile committee of Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Export of MMF fabric increased after trade was allowed from Wagha border in October 2013. Still Pakistan has kept around 78 textile items, mostly manufactured in Surat, in the negative list, Official sources said.
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