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September 9, 2017

Furniture exports still not out of woods: PFC


September 9, 2017

LAHORE: Kashif Ashfaq, chief executive of Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC), on Friday said there was an exigent need to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to explore international market for boosting the exports of Pakistan’s world-class furniture. 

“Despite a nominal initial value, the furniture export has finally made a beginning, and with aggressive marketing strategy the value of exports could be doubled in a short span,” said he chairing a meeting with a delegation of furniture exporters hailing from Sindh at PFC head office.

“Sindh furniture exporters are playing their significant role for expanding the volume of furniture export.”  Ashfaq said the PFC’s recently organised “Interiors Pakistan” exhibition at Karachi expo center was a hit as a large number of woodwork companies belonging to Karachi and Sindh participated in this magnificent event and displayed their products which got public acclaim.

“The upcoming 9th edition of the expo will be held at Expo Center Lahore in December and will help boost the local furniture business inside and outside the country,” Ashfaq said. He said the exhibition was an opportunity for large furniture companies and interior designers in the country to display their works. “The potential is largely untapped and there is room for diversification. The market beyond Pakistani borders is substantially larger than the local market,” he said.

He said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) should support furniture exporters at international furniture exhibitions. “Exports to Italy, France, and the USA are 55 percent of the total exports. Pakistani foreign missions should explore new avenues and holding fairs in their respective countries,” the PFC chief said.

He said this sector could touch more than $850 million export target by year 2017 if it is provided with training centers for skilled workmanship, women development schemes, and high-tech machinery. 

“Re-constitution of federal timber board, comprising private and public sector members is necessary to restructure Sheesham wood plantation and ban its illegal export,” he said.  Ashfaq added the utility costs, improper wood seasoning, substandard finishing, packing problems, poor designs, average quality, and inability to meet world standards, etc were some of the main obstacles in the way of exports. Ashfaq explained that some 95 percent of the furniture in Pakistan is made from wood. 

“The country has more than 700 furniture manufacturing workshops producing export quality furniture with Chiniot, Gujrat, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi being the main producers,” he said adding that the furniture market was divided into home use, contract markets, supplying to hotels and restaurants, furniture for offices and for public spaces.

He said that he was so much optimistic about the future of the exports of furniture items from Pakistan as the country has a huge furniture market that it can explore. “If Pakistan gives a formal shape to its furniture sector, it will be able to have a share in global furniture export as well,” said he.


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