Recommendations for the STPF 2018-2023 to MOC ‘Protection and Promotion of Women owned Indigenous Crafts of Pakistan’

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.

A thorough research should be carried out to compare the dwindling situations of the exportable Micro SMEs in Pakistan in comparison to the neighboring countries.
Through Procurement, industries should take contracts from International Markets, get the work done from the women and get incentives in return from the government in the duties, taxes and matching grants to export the products.
Identificatiion of GI codes:
Protection and Promotion of women intensive products through the mechanism of Geographical indication. Chinese and Indian copies of our indigenous shawls and apparel should be strictly curbed through media campaigns. Our embassies and Foreign missions should play its part to explore the markets for their exports.
HS codes and the Negative list:
Separate the HS code of the Machine embroidered and hand embroidered apparel and put them in Negative list of imports from India.strict action should be taken against the illegal and indirect trade through free ports and smuggling through porous border.
Heavy Taxes to be levied to discourage certain imports:
For China and Korea the imports of the menace of machine embroidered shawl replicas should be identified with a HS a code and should be levied with heavy duties on their import.
Capacity building:
Branding, product sophistication, innovation on domestic level for this sector should be specially emphasized. Organizations like NAVTAC and skill development sectors should be re-equipped with modern tools and technology.
Market access:
Special visas should be issued to the women who want to explore the foreign markets. The terms and conditions should be softened for the women entrepreneurs. GSP plus status and other trade agreements should offer visas to women on soft terms and conditions. When signing any new trade agreement, this provision should be advocated.
Thorough research study to identify the indigenous stitches of Pakistan should be carried out to protect and promote them through GI codes
Intensive campaigning on Government level to promote women owned products domestically and internationally is need of the day.
Access to Finance should be readdressed for this sector.

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

Source of the Map unknown; Credits Unknown