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Saturday, March 8, 2014
- Karachi, a sprawling city of 18 million, is the country’s economic hub. It accounts for 95 percent of Pakistan’s foreign trade and contributes 30 percent of national industrial production.
If power outages don’t interrupt the day’s work, then one of the many transport workers’ strikes surely will, delaying the shipment of products abroad. When the strikers get back to work, extortionists come knocking, demanding huge sums in “protection money” from factory owners.
“If foreign businessmen cannot visit Pakistan, see our products and (engage) in joint ventures, how will our industries thrive?” asked Yasin Siddiq, president of the Sindh and Balochistan chapters of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.
The many crises have pushed unemployment to roughly five percent, according to the World Bank’s most recent World Development Report.
The only bright spot on the horizon, experts say, is the potential impact of the European Union’s decision to grant Pakistan Autonomous Trade Preferences in 2013. The agreement allows duty-free market access to 75 textile items from Pakistan and is expected to boost production in this vital sector of the economy.