Tapping Pakistani handicrafts export potential: way forward

By Mariam Raheem | Gwadar Pro Jun 19, 2022

QUETTA, Jun.19 (Gwadar Pro)-“Pakistan has a rich history and culture and excellent craftsmanship. However, we are mostly unable to access the international handicrafts market. We need to review our strategy to promote our handicrafts to the world by raising awareness, such as holding exhibitions for handicrafts, utilizing E-marketing channels, etc.,"Dr. Sana Durrani, Chairperson of Balochistan Women Business Association and Executive Director of Handicrafts Brand GHINDAA said in a recent interview with Gwadar Pro.

Under the leadership of Dr. Sana Durrani, more than 400 poor women were trained in handicraft skills in 3 districts of Balochistan. The development of handicrafts is not only an important source of income for Pakistani women but also the inheritance and innovation of traditional culture. Very restricted handicrafts of Pakistan are exported to other countries as it lacks market surveys and sales channels. Chinese people like cultural products, and with the continuous improvement of the country's economy, the size of the handicraft market and consumer expenditure continue to grow. Accordingly, it is important to provide insights from the industry in China on how to best price handicrafts and provide logistics solutions for prospective and existing Pakistani exporters.

On a webinar on pricing strategies and logistic solutions for the export of handicrafts from Pakistan to China jointly organized by the Consulate General of Pakistan in Shanghai and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan on Tuesday, Hussain Haider, Consul General of Pakistan in Shanghai explained that there is a wide range of import prices for handicrafts in China depending upon unique attributes of the product and its positioning in the Chinese market. With the right strategy, handicrafts can become a huge potential product for Pakistan to export to China.

On this occasion, Mr. Anderson Wang, CEO of Zhejiang Eman Logistics International Company, presented different options for exporters from Pakistan to ship their products to China. His company, which also has a warehouse in Karachi, can help Pakistani companies ship their products to various rigions of China. He introduced Pakistan’s permanent pavilion in Yiwu city, Zhejiang province, which is managed by his company. He added that "we encourage handicraft suppliers from Pakistan to dispatch samples of their products for free display in Pakistan’s permanent pavilion.”

Ms. Echo Li, Senior Partner in St. Fulin Group, said that in the Chinese market, high prices are not impediments to sales. Chinese buyers are willing to pay high prices for handicrafts that meet their tastes and requirements. She underlined the need to highlight culture, history and unique style of handicrafts to optimize their sales in China.

In promoting the handicrafts industry, Directorate of Creative and Cultural Industries, Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) has completed the publication of several books on different regional crafts and provided training in design and capacity building to the artisans. Artisans are also offered interest-free loans. Sikandar Hayat, Assistant Director, Creative & Cultural Industries, PSIC, believes that special hubs and centers may be established where artisans may be guided for linkages and sale of handicrafts in all the potential countries.

Zhang Bing, a Chinese businessman who has been manufacturing and trading handicrafts to China in Pakistan for 8 years, told Gwadar Pro that Pakistani jade and gems are very popular with Chinese consumers. “Compared with the raw materials of Chinese handicrafts, Pakistan’s natural raw materials have great advantages. The complicated textures of Islamic flowers and animals are very exquisite. In addition to gem-inlaid decorations, wall paintings made of natural stone are admired by Chinese consumers.” He further said that “if Pakistani craftsmen can improve their quality control from material selection to production and straighten out their sales channels, they will definitely expand their exports to China and other countries.”

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