Pak­istani life­style goes to In­dia

Enterprise - - Contents -

The coun­try’s first life­style ex­hi­bi­tion, Life­style Pak­istan was held by the Trade De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of Pak­istan (TDAP) in New Delhi, from April 12 to 15, 2012. More than 100 renowned Pak­istani brands par­tic­i­pated in the show along with per­sonal pres­ence of lead­ing fash­ion de­sign­ers, fur­ni­ture mak­ers, artists and crafts­men.

The event was in­au­gu­rated in New Delhi by Anand Sharma, In­dia’s Min­is­ter of Com­merce, In­dus­try and Tex­tiles, in pres­ence of Za­far Mehmood, Pak­istan’s Com­merce Sec­re­tary and Shahid Ma­lik, Pak­istan’s High Com­mis­sioner to In­dia, on April 12. Some of Pak­istan’s top com­pa­nies re­lated to lawn and fash­ion ap­parel, home tex­tiles, fur­ni­ture, leather goods, Sindhi crafts and Pak­istani cui­sine made good use of the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the In­dian life­style mar­ket. They in­cluded Gul Ahmed, Al Karam, Hub Leather, Khaadi, Ju­naid Jamshed Lawn, Ori­ent Tex­tiles, Nishat Tex­tiles, AsimJofa and Chen One.

On the cc­ca­sion, Anand Sharma, In­dian com­merce and in­dus­tries min­is­ter an­nounced In­dia’s decision to al­low Pak­istani in­vest­ment in In­dia. Par­tic­i­pants were ex­cited about the nor­mal­iza­tion of trade re­la­tions be­tween both na­tions.

Prior to this, In­dia and Pak­istan did not wel­come For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment (FDI) from each other. In­dia’s cur­rent in­vest­ment pol­icy al­lows FDI in sec­tors not deemed sen­si­tive enough for gov­ern­ment over­sight through the ‘au­to­matic route’ and through the ‘gov­ern­ment route’ in all other sec­tors. Even within the au­to­matic sec­tors, ar­eas are in­ac­ces­si­ble to for­eign in­vest­ment with­out gov­ern­ment per­mis­sion. A study re­leased by the As­so­ci­ated Cham­ber of Com­merce & In­dus­try in In­dia, cites the tele­com sec­tor to ex­plain this. While the sec­tor al­lows 74 per­cent FDI – “sub­ject to cer­tain spe­cific con­di­tions as spec­i­fied by the Con­sol­i­dated FDI Pol­icy 2011” – only 49 per­cent of this is al­lowed through the au­to­matic route. As such, Sharma’s com­mit­ment that “pro­ce­dural re­quire­ments are un­der­way and will be no­ti­fied soon” was wel­comed.

The state­ment has also en­cour­aged pol­i­cy­mak­ers in Pak­istan to al­low In­dian FDI in view of the Pak­istan’s al­ready lib­eral for­eign in­vest­ment pol­icy. In face of a dis­mal FDI po­si­tion, open­ing doors to In­dian in­vestors will help the Pak­istani econ­omy. Many large In­dian con­glom­er­ates have been in­vest­ing in China in spite of the fact that both coun­tries have bor­der dis­putes. In 2008, the Gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan had sug­gested to In­dia the ‘Chi­naIn­dia model’ with a view to nor­mal­iz­ing re­la­tions but it could not make much head­way.

How­ever, the real is­sue for many Pak­istani busi­ness­men keen to do busi­ness in In­dia is that In­dia has not al­lowed FDI in re­tail trad­ing so far. Most tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ers and fash­ion de­sign­ers from Pak­istan were over­whelmed by the re­sponse they got at Life­style Pak­istan show in New Delhi and claimed that al­most 95 per­cent of their goods were sold on the first two days as re­tail sales were al­lowed. Now, lead­ing tex­tile peo­ple say that they in­tend to grant fran­chises to In­dian part­ners in or­der to over­come the re­stric­tion.

Pak­istani tex­tile ex­porters have also asked In­dia to re­duce im­port duty on Pak­istani tex­tiles to the lev­els of­fered to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – an is­sue that could be re­solved if both coun­tries were to fol­low the SAFTA tar­iff regime. The other com­mon con­cern was that the test­ing of prod­ucts should be made eas­ier and third­party cer­tifi­cates of in­ter­na­tion­ally- re­puted com­pa­nies should be ac­cepted. Fur­ther, most busi­ness­men want more land routes to be opened quickly and up­graded on the pat­tern of Wa­gah- At­tari In­te­grated Checkpost, which now has the ca­pac­ity to han­dle 600 trucks a day.

In­dia and Pak­istan have opened a new chap­ter with the hold­ing of Life­style Pak­istan ex­hi­bi­tion. The show opened just days af­ter Pak­istan Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari vis­ited In­dia for a day.

“There is no other op­tion but eco­nomic part­ner­ship be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan,” re­marked In­dian Com­merce Min­is­ter Anand Sharma at the launch of the ex­hi­bi­tion, a sen­ti­ment echoed by Pak­istani of­fi­cials as well. “We have to rec­og­nize our true trade po­ten­tial and leave our chil­dren with a legacy that en­sures pros­per­ity, har­mony and peace,” Sharma said.

The fair show­cased Pak­istan’s best jew­ellery, tex­tiles, fur­ni­ture and cloth­ing. “We have the top brands from Pak­istan, high- end fash­ion and creative work at this show,” Tariq Puri, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Trade De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of Pak­istan, said. “We have never had so many qual­ity peo­ple un­der the same roof. This is Pak­istan’s con­tem­po­rary side.” He fur­ther said that in­creased trade rep­re­sented an “enor­mous win- win op­por­tu­nity” for In­dia and Pak­istan.”

Pak­istani par­tic­i­pants said they looked for­ward to more trade. “We hope this new trade can over­come a lot of the mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween the coun­tries and a new era of co­op­er­a­tion will start,” said Mian Ahad, one of Pak­istan’s lead­ing fur­ni­ture de­sign­ers. The par­tic­i­pants saw a vast op­por­tu­nity in In­dia, a huge mar­ket of 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple.

The two coun­tries are mov­ing to­wards a most- favoured- na­tion ac­cord and have re­duced taxes that ham­per trade. Cur­rently, two- way trade of around $ 2.6 bil­lion is heav­ily tilted in In­dia’s favour but un­of­fi­cial trade is es­ti­mated at up to $ 10 bil­lion. The show un­der­scored hopes voiced by the two na­tions that boost­ing trade can help peace talks, in­clud­ing Kash­mir.

(Front row) Anand Sharma, In­dian Min­is­ter for Com­merce, In­dus­try and Tex­tiles (cen­tre), in­au­gu­rat­ing the “Life­style Pak­istan” ex­hi­bi­tion, is flanked by (from left) Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, TDAP, Za­far Mah­mood, Pak­istan Com­merce Sec­re­tary,

Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Speaker, Pro­vin­cial Assem­bly of Sindh and Shahid Ma­lik, Pak­istan’s High Com­mis­sioner to In­dia.

Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, TDAP,

speak­ing at the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony.

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