China and Pakistan have included carpet sector in their free trade agreement, to encourage the export of the Pakistani tapestry business, which employs thousands of women.
The carpet sector has “hit the floor because of various business problems,” according to Riaz Ahmed, vice president of the Pakistan’s Association of Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters.
Due to increasing freight charges, higher taxes, customs cuts and warehousing expenditures, Pakistani export of hand-made tapestry dropped from $300 million to $68 million in 2015!
As a result, thousands of women who worked as daily employees have lost their employment.
In the hand-knotted tapestry industry, women account for 70 percent, according to Ahmed. But now, 313 export goods will have duty-free access to China’s 2 trillion dollars import market by including hand-knoting carpets in the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement.
“There is a large hand-crafted tapestry market in this region in Pakistan,” Ahmed adds, “yet the cost to China’s investors is low.”