European Union (EU) Delegation to Pakistan Head of Cooperation Bernard Francois on Thursday addressed an orientation workshop held in connection with Pakistan Mega Leather Show 2016.
The event was arranged by the EU funded Pakistan Leather Competitiveness Improvement Programme (PLCIP) under European Union’s Trade Related Technical Assistance Programme.
The programme is working to improve the overall value chain in the leather sector of Pakistan. The purpose of the orientation workshop was to give an introduction to Pakistan’s leather industry to the international community and donors and to invite them for the upcoming Pakistan Mega Leather Show 2016, which is being hosted in Lahore on January 27 to 29, 2016.
“The leather sector is an important sector in Pakistan, due to its size on economic footprint, employment and potential for value creation. Despite being an export earner, the leather sector has a small share in the global trade of value added goods and products,” Bernard Francois said during his keynote speech at the ceremony. “In the wake of the current incentives given by the EU, which includes the GSP+ status for Pakistan, the value added leather sector needs to seize the opportunity and further develop the sector to become an even greater export earner for Pakistan. Pakistan is lagging behind other regional players, and there is an imminent need to make the leather sector more competitive in the international market,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, PLCIP Project Director Usman H. Malik highlighted various activities envisioned under the programme. He informed the audience that the three-year PLCIP had been involved in supporting the leather product sector by focusing on improving productivity, shop floor management, export diversification and new market access. He highlighted that the Pakistani leather sector was a large export earner, with total exports of $1,376 million in 2014. However, he said that the sector was not keeping up with regional competitors and the industry had difficulties coping with the changing demands of the international market. He said that the assistance of the PLCIP would go a long way in providing technical training and knowhow to the Pakistani leather exporters to address the challenging needs of the international market.
PMLS-2016 Convener Muhammad Musaddiq said that the Pakistan Mega Leather Show would portray the positive image of Pakistan to the world. This event would target the international buyers to come to Pakistan and to take benefit from the tremendous potential that exists in the leather sector of Pakistan. He said that the show would provide a unique platform for the Pakistani leather industry, including tanners, footwear manufacturers, leather garments and gloves manufacturers, chemical companies, and other vendors supplying equipment, machinery and components to the leather industry to display their products, and provide a single platform for the Pakistani leather industry. He encouraged the diplomatic community and donors to participate in this show and invite potential stakeholders/buyers from their respective countries to visit the expo.
Speaking on the occasion, chairmen of the Pakistan Tanners Association, Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Pakistan Footwear Association and Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association highlighted the products being manufactured in Pakistan and different issues being faced by the manufacturers with regard to their exports to the EU.
The event was attended by representatives of the European Union, foreign missions, and various government officials from the Ministry of Commerce.