The chief of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has pointed out that lack of awareness about importance of branding and value addition has come as a big hurdle in the way of business and trade in the country. Despite having strong agriculture and industrial bases, the Pakistani business community could not introduce a significant value added product in the world market and absence of branding is shifting all the benefits of the local products to other countries which are earning huge money from global trade. On another note, Pakistan is still struggling to achieve minor export targets as exports have constantly been declining for the last many years.
China produces run-of-the-mill products for foreign buyers on the condition that every product will be marked by ‘made in China’. However, Pakistan exports best quality towels, bathrobes and many many other products without insisting on the ‘made in Pakistan’ labels and without any brand name. Instead, several European companies import Pakistani products and sell in local markets with their own brand names. In some cases, they send their own stickers to the Pakistani exporters and the product user never knows it is made in Pakistan. This practice has been allowed by the government for several years. Though it brings short term benefits for the exporters, but long term losses for the country.
The LCCI chief is correct to say that the country is getting far less benefits from the potentials of its quality products. In another case, South Korea used to import cotton from Pakistan at minimal rates, but made 10 times more money after processing it in their country. Pakistan exports tons of marble and precious stones to Singapore and other nations, which turn the raw stones into value added goods and earn billions of dollars. One fails to understand when the policymakers of this country will learn from others’ experiences. According to economists, Pakistan still has the potentials to introduce various kinds of brands in the international markets, from fashion designs to industrial products.
Pakistan is the leading sports goods exporter, but even this section lacks any brand name. It is advisable that the government policymakers, business community and all the stakeholders should sit together and work out a policy for the promotion of business and trade.