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Pakistan textile titans seek Chinese industry relocation in joint venture push

December 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A group of Pakistan's leading textile industrialists will seek to relocate some Chinese industry in Pakistan through joint ventures, arguing that the country offers lower labor costs than the world's second largest economy.

The delegation of six to seven textile tycoons, led by Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz, will hold business-to-business (B2B) meetings with Chinese counterparts in several textile hubs, aiming to boost exports to China under a free trade agreement that took effect last year.

The bilateral trade between the two countries stands at $23.5 billion, with exports from Pakistan standing at $2.6 billion, resulting in a significant imbalance of $21 billion in favor of China.

Caretaker Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz chairs a meeting on December 8, 2023. — X/@Gohar_Ejaz1
Caretaker Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz chairs a meeting on December 8, 2023. — X/@Gohar_Ejaz1

During the visit, Minister Ejaz will also seek cooperation from his Chinese counterparts and officials on how Pakistan can increase its exports to China. The visit is a follow-up to Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar's October trip to China, where MoUs were signed to enhance exports to Chinese markets.

Pakistan has already extended its assurance to create a special economic zone near Pakistan Stall Mills for Chinese entrepreneurs who intend to relocate their industry in Pakistan, separate from the special economic zone being built under CPEC.

This time, Pakistan's entrepreneurs, who used to export their products to the EU and the US, have shown great interest in exploring the Chinese market to surge their exports.

To this effect, they will hold B2B meetings in textile clusters, as well as meetings in the areas of agriculture, electric vehicles, marble, cement, fertilizer, fruits and vegetables, home appliances, glass, chemicals, and textiles, seeking joint ventures.

In China, every province has its own trade and export policy. This is why the country's delegation, for the first time, will visit the Chinese Silicon Valley and Suzhou City, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Shanghai province. Suzhou City alone has a GDP of more than $300 billion, with imports of $153 billion and exports of $230 billion.