A group of trade associations representing Pakistan's textile and garment industries is threatening a mass closure of all factories in the country from Saturday (9 December) unless their demands for a ban on exports of cotton yarn is met.

The industry groups want the government to impose the ban on cotton yarn counts of less than 32 when it meets on Friday (8 January), arguing that rising cotton prices and domestic yarn shortages are hitting the manufacturing sector.

An indefinite strike could lead to the loss of about 2.5m jobs, the groups warn, as well as having a knock-on impact for other industries supplying the sector such as buttons and packaging.

The associations say cotton yarn is exported at rates of less than $1.92 per kg, while its local price is $2.35 per kg, and that the problem has been worsened by a 20% drop in Pakistan's cotton production.

Groups including the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), the Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, Pakistan Knitwear and Sweater Exporters Association, and the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) all support the export ban.