LAHORE: The Indian government’s decision to allow foreign direct investment from Pakistan has pleased fabric and bed wear manufacturers since local products are extremely popular across the border. The Indian government’s decision has come at a time when renowned Pakistani fabric and bed wear manufacturers are exhibiting their products at an exhibition, Lifestyle Pakistan, in New Delhi.
The News contacted one of the leading Pakistani fabric manufacturers (currently participating in the exhibition) Farhan Lateef of Chenone, who said that a record number of Indian visitors have been visiting stalls of Pakistani lawn fabric brands.
He said that “up till now we were marketing our products by providing franchise to the Indians”, which meant sales remained limited since proper marketing of products requires the establishment of numerous outlets for the brand.
“We are awaiting the details of the terms and conditions of the investment permission that India has indicated to grant to Pakistani investors” he said, further adding that he hoped the opening of brand outlets would also be allowed and the FDI conditions are reasonable.
Former chairman of APTMA, Gohar Ejaz said that it is premature to comment on India’s decision to permit Pakistani investors to do business in India until the details are known.
“We are taking an APTMA delegation to India in two weeks time to explore the possibilities of joint ventures with our Indian counterparts on both sides of the border,” he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) said the association has received many queries about the sick textile units up for sale in Pakistan. He said that the interest of the Indian textile entrepreneurs indicate their keenness to operate basic textile units in Pakistan because of the comparative advantage that this country enjoys in basic textiles.
He said the Indian government must have indicated to their industry its intention of allowing Pakistani investors to invest directly in India, while expecting Pakistan to do the same in reciprocal.
On the contrary, leading knitwear exporter, M I Khuram said that “for the Pakistani apparel sector, Bangladesh is a more lucrative investment place than India”.
Similarly, he said, for the Indians too, Bangladesh is a better location to invest in apparel sector than Pakistan. He was of the opinion that Pakistanis may establish trade outlets in India but they are unlikely to invest in their industrial sectors.
Talat Fazil, a leading home appliance manufacturer, said that Indians have competitive and technological advantage in light engineering over Pakistan.
“They might establish huge manufacturing facilities of their popular brands in Pakistan to cater to the local markets and Central Asian markets if Pakistan allows Indians to invest here”.
Even the banking sector is excited. Senior Vice President of MCB Bank, Mubashir Bashir said that Pakistani banks have technological and efficiency edge over Indian banks and all leading banks of the country are keen to establish their branches in India as soon as the permission is granted by India. —Mansoor Ahmad