Pakistan's textile and clothing exports dropped by more than 10% to US$12.35bn in the fiscal year to the end of June, with the sector's share of the country's total exports sliding by 3% to 52%.

According to data released by the country's Federal Bureau of Statistics, exports of woven ready-made garments were down by 8% to $1.63bn, knitted garments fell by 14% to $1.97bn, cotton yarn plunged by 18% to$1.79bn, and cotton cloth decreased by 6% to $2.45bn.

Exports of raw cotton, however, increased 26.7% due to a surge in demand from China following a ban by the Indian government on its cotton exports and efforts by the Chinese government to build national cotton stockpiles

Footwear exports fell 10% to US$99m during the period, against $109m last year. The drop was led by a 48% decrease in exports of canvas footwear and a decline of 35% in footwear made from other materials.

Officials at the Ministry of Commerce blamed the decline in exports on the crisis in the eurozone, stiff competition from China, India and Bangladesh, a lack of infrastructure, and the domestic energy crisis.

Akbar Sheikh, vice chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), told just-style the textile industry is being supplied with gas for five days a week and is also being hurt by daily power cuts. As a result, around 40% of the textile industry's production capacity is idle.

A decline in imports of textile machinery and a drop in foreign direct investment indicate that local manufacturers are not expanding their production capacities, he explained.

However, the APTMA also told just-style that textile and clothing exports could enjoy growth in the future if the GSP+ trade concession on exports to the EU was approved, as well as trade normalisation with India, and the completion of textile and garment cities at Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad.

The EU is Pakistan's largest trading partner, accounting for 25% of the country's total exports. But Pakistan is unlikely to benefit from the new GSP+ scheme until it complies with 27 mandatory international conventions.