Garment exports from Pakistan are likely to be down by nearly one-third as orders for the Christmas season shift to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka over fears that supply will be disrupted as a result of the recent floods.

Ejaz Khokhar, chief coordinator and former chairman of the Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), told just-style that the floods have destroyed around 3m bales (500m kg) of cotton. This, he said, which would result in a 20% rise in production costs, while the total losses in terms of garment exports could reach around 30%.

He said that floods could affect the garment business in Pakistan in two ways. Firstly, increases in production costs would lead to closures in the small-scale sector, and secondly, buyers would try to divert their orders to other countries. 

Ejaz said that due to supply chain disruptions, garment shipments from the country are already down by around 7-10%.

And garment buyers are worried about their shipments for the Christmas season and are trying to divert their orders to Bangladesh and other countries.

He said Pakistan’s economic conditions have fallen to the level of Least Developed Country (LDC), and is calling on the government to pursue GSP+ status in the EU market and special market access into the US. This, he said, would help generate employment and improve economic conditions for those people affected by the flood.

Gohar Ejaz, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab, also urged the government to make immediate efforts to import at least 2m bales of cotton from the US on a deferred payment basis through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to keep the industry running.

In relief efforts, APTMA Punjab has sent 20 trucks of food items and one truck of tents to the flood affected area of Muzaffargarh district.