Proposal outline. Absence of Global Indication codes for the Indigenous Micro SMEs and Cottage Industry of Pakistan And Ban On the Illegal import and export of the articles to protect the commercial heritage of country’s products.
Overview of the Industry:
Cottage industry is the back bone of the rural segment of our country. The MSMEs not only provide employment but help in poverty alleviation through economic empowerment from the grass root level.
Hand embroidered apparel are predominately women owned crafts that run in the families of the artisans for centuries. The cottage industry of India, Bangladesh and China was able to attract new investors (Bhattacharyya,2014). The web of traditional crafts not only helps in self employment but through human resource development in the skilled and the non skilled sector the overall economy of the country grows. Pakistan is currently facing an alarming situation where the country is not only losing its traditional heritage but because of the lack of Government’s interest the industry is about to perish.
Areas Of Concern:
The Agreement on the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights TRIPs is an international legal agreement between all the WTO member nations. Through article 22-24 it needs to give protection to the Global Indications to its members.
The delay in legislation on part of Pakistan is causing heavily to the country because of the unidentified theft of intellectual property in GIs belonging to Pakistan, causing damage to the economy of Pakistan.
Recently, ajrak skirts were sold by the International brand H&M , Dolce and Gabbana introduced truck art food processors and Paul Smith launched Peshawari chapal. Internationl Brands like these continue selling Pakistani origin goods due to non-finalization of Geographical Indication Law that aims to protect commercial heritage of country’s products.
The articles like Shawls of Swat and Kashmir are facing severe decline in the export and domestic markets because of the import of shawls from China which are machine replicas of our indigenous hand crafted shawls. If one hand woven and embroidered shawl in Pakistan takes weeks to complete the process, the machine made and embroidered one from China takes hardly one day from scratch to the finished product. These low cost replicas are destroying our craft domestically and then these are exported in the name of our original Swati and Kashmiri shawls costing us millions of revenue in the exports. With CPEC and trade liberalization there is a severe concern that the mega market’s injection of the replicas and other such crafts that are the life line of the women artisans of Pakistan into a struggling economy like Pakistan can only be fatal.
Our ethnic Embroidered dresses are world famous. Hand embroidery stitches and certain techniques like Kashmiri tanka, sindhi tanka, rilli work, mukaish, tarkashi, zardozi, chunri are indigenous to Pakistan. As had been pointed out be the EX-Prime Minister Shahid Khakkan Abbasi it is about time that Pakistani craftsmen should enjoy the fruits of the internationally famed articles like Ajrak and Peshawari Chapal, which the International designers copy with no repercussions in the absence of the GI codes.
Markets are overcrowded by the low quality Indian embroidered dresses that is killing the domestic industry of embroidered apparel.When a woman goes out of business the economic hierarchy of the whole family and ultimately the country deteriorates.
STPF caters to limited sectors. It’s time to widen the horizon and emphasize on the exportable products of the cottage industry and Micro SMEs.
Being part of USAID-PREIA’s Women Leadership in Trade Policy program,I had an opportunity to take part in the consultative sessions on formulation of the new trade policy 2018-2023