Textiles and Apparel: Focus Pakistan

Over the last few years the growth of the textiles and apparel sector in Asia has been breathtaking. Much of the focus has been on China and Bangladesh, the two largest exporters of textiles and apparel. There are other countries, however, primarily in South and Southeast Asia, where many of the large retailers and brands are looking as potential sourcing partners. Pakistan is seeking to take advantage of its natural strengths and experience in the sector to ask companies to give it strong consideration.

  • Pakistan announced that it is developing a new National Textile Policy that proposes to focus on producing higher value textiles and apparel in Pakistan – with an ambitious goal to grow the industry by $26 billion over the next 5 years.  Please contact ASG South Asia if you would like more information or to comment on the draft policy.
  • Pakistan announced plans to create Pakistan Textile City – export processing zone - near the Port of Karachi.
  • Pakistan will host a Business Opportunities Conference in March 2015 in Islamabad and will focus on the following sectors: textiles, apparel & footwear, infrastructure, agriculture and energy.  Please contact ASG South Asia if you would like more information or would like to attend the conference.

The textiles and apparel sector are already important drivers of the Pakistani economy but this continues to be an area for potential for growth. The sector:

  • Employs 40 percent of industrial workforce;
  • Contributes 8 percent to the country's GDP;
  • Sustains the livelihood of approximately 10 million farmers;
  • Pakistan is the 8th largest producer of textiles in Asia, the 4th largest cotton producer in the world and is the world’s 3rd largest consumer of cotton.

Although current production is relatively low-value, textile products like raw cotton, cotton yarn, cotton fiber, and ready-made-garments (RMG) account for 10 percent of overall textile exports. Improving the quality and value of RMG products is a goal of the Pakistani industry. 

Effective on January 1, 2014, Pakistan now has GSP plus status with the European Union (EU).  This means that Pakistan enjoys duty free treatment for 20 percent of its exports and preferential duty rates for approximately 70 percent of it exports to the EU, including textiles and apparel. The Pakistani government estimates that EU GSP plus status will help its exports could increase by $2 billion. 

Leading Exporters of Clothing (2014)


Value of Exports (WTO)

Primary Markets


$177 billion

EU, US, Japan

European Union (28)

$118 billion

Switzerland, Russia, United States


$24 billion

EU, United States, Turkey

Hong Kong

$22 billion

US, EU, Japan


$5 billion

US, UK, Spain

Sources: International Trade Statistics 2014 (WTO), EURATEX, BGMEA, HKDTC, TDAP

Note: Using Standard International Trade Classification, articles of apparel and clothing accessories fall under SITC’s Division 84 and include women’s/men’s/girl’s/boy’s coats, capes, jackets, suits, trousers, shorts, shirts, dresses and skirts, underwear, nightwear and similar articles of textile fabrics whether or not knitted and crocheted as well as clothing accessories of textile fabrics, headgear of all materials.