|By Shahzad Anwar
KARACHI: Pakistan still lags behind in technical textile products as neither the government nor the textile industry has made any serious efforts towards synchronizing textile products with the emerging needs of the world market by developing higher value-added products.
Although the textile sector is the backbone of Pakistanâ€™s economy, the government as well as the textile industry have kept their focus on conventional textiles, ignoring technical textiles and knowledge-based products.
Technical textile products are those required for special purposes such as fire fighting and protective gear, industry, aerospace, military, marine, medical, construction, geo-textile, transportation and other high-tech applications.
As competition continues to increase in the general and consumer textiles industry, even companies based in countries previously seen as low-cost producers are facing the question of how to survive in a truly global market.
Presently, Japan, Germany, the US, the UK, France and China have monopoly over knowledge-based textile sector, producing technical textiles. These countries except China have abandoned producing conventional textile products.
Traditional applications for technical textiles include tyre cords and ropes, but producers are increasingly manufacturing fibres used in high-tech products for a wider range of end uses. Industries, which are now involved in technical textiles, include agriculture, automotive, building and construction, medical/hygiene, packaging, protective clothing, sportswear and transport.
â€œBy realising its importance, China has launched a comprehensive programme called â€˜Double Incentive Scheme for Technical Textilesâ€™, whereas India has also announced a bundle of relief package for the promotion of technical textiles in the country,â€ a Karachi-based textile expert told The News.
Contrary to this, only one textile mill deals in production of higher value-added products in Pakistan and in the absence of incentives from the government besides unfavourable conditions it is passing through a very difficult phase.
Pakistan also spends a huge amount of foreign exchange every year on import of higher value-added textile products in order to meet its local demand including aerospace, military, marine, medical, etc.