Pakistan's textile and clothing exports fell by 9.4% to US$9.02bn in the first nine months of the current fiscal year.

According to the latest data released by the country's Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), the export value of cotton yarn dropped 26% to US$1.26bn, knitted garments fell 12% to US$1.47bn, and woven garments were down 2% to US$1.20bn.

Footwear exports dropped 4.34% to US$76m in the period from July to March.

The volume of textile and clothing exports fell by 35-40%, according to Mohsin Aziz, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).

He told just-style that if the situation continues it could jeopardise export opportunities created by a World Trade Organization (WTO) decision earlier this year to give 75 Pakistani products duty-free access to European Union (EU) markets for two years.

Aziz also urged the government to implement a decision by the president to provide uninterrupted gas and electricity supplies to the textile industry.

Gohar Ejaz, group leader of APTMA, also believes the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is compromising industry growth by keeping interests rate high. This, coupled with double- digit inflation, has been hitting exports as well as the industry's ability to create jobs.

And Ijaz Khokhar, chief co-coordinator of the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), told just-style that garment makers are unable to ship their consignments to the EU and US on time because of industry-wide power cuts.

Textiles are Pakistan's largest export earner, contributing more than 55% of the county's total export receipts. Falling textile exports therefore pose significant economic challenges to the government.