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The Textile Imbroglio

Pakistan is one of the largest producers of raw cotton in the world. Over the years, a sophisticated textile industry has been established, downstream many garment industries and other textile finishing factories have come into line giving value-added benefit to the nation to complement the hard work done by our farmers in the production of raw cotton. Pakistan has developed a fine balance between the exporting of raw cotton and finished products, taken cumulatively these are the largest earners of foreign exchange for our country. Because of protectionist measures employed increasingly by the developed world, our major source of hard cash earnings is seriously threatened. The quotas allocated to us do not reflect the base of our raw cotton production and the major percentage of our population whose lives are directly dependent upon cotton’s cumulative performance in the export sector. In contrast, countries that do not produce much cotton, if any, like Taiwan, S. Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, etc have quotas much in excess to what they should have, given the statistical facts and figures. Garment manufacturing factories in the aforementioned countries had proliferated because of cheap labour and we ended up right down the line as compared to them with respect to textile quotas when quotas were first imposed, taking into account their then respective exports.