Blog: Leonie BarriePakistan GSP+ could boost exports

Leonie Barrie | 16 December 2013

Pakistan's garment manufacturers are anticipating significant trading benefits after finally being granted preferential access to the European Union under the GSP+ scheme. A crucial vote by the European Parliament last week paved the way for the country to join the programme from January 2014.

With the new status, shipments to the EU will benefit from zero tariffs. But while Pakistan estimates exports of textiles and clothing alone will increase by US$650m in the first year, local industrialists have told just-style that producers also need help to take full advantage of the facility.

A package of new measures agreed by World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiators is also being described as one of the biggest reforms to global trade since the WTO was set up 18 years ago. And it has been welcomed by apparel retailers and manufacturers.

It was also an eventful week for yoga-wear specialist Lululemon Athletica, which has been weighed down by quality issues over the past few months. First, it was revealed that founder and chairman Chip Wilson is to step down, and that Laurent Potdevin will be the new CEO. Then the retailer cut its full-year sales guidance, despite recording a 15.2% increase in profit during the third quarter.

And Fifth & Pacific Companies is finally flying solo after agreeing to sell its Lucky Brand Jeans business to an affiliate of private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, for US$225m. The move comes just two months after it arranged to offload its struggling Juicy Couture unit - and means it will now be able to focus on its popular Kate Spade label.

Meanwhile, apparel giant PVH Corp recorded a double-digit increase in third-quarter profit, but warned of a competitive and highly promotional holiday season.

When it comes to winners and losers in the global apparel industry in 2013, our annual review of the year sheds light on those for whom 2013 will be memorable in more ways than one - from retailing to manufacturing and sourcing.

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