China and Pakistan have agreed to include handmade carpets in their free trade deal in order to increase exports of Pakistan’s carpet sector, which employs thousands of women.
Riaz Ahmed, vice chairman of Pakistan’s Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told Geo.tv that the carpet industry has “reached rock bottom” as a result of “several trade-ruining factors.”
Due to escalating freight costs, skyrocketing tax charges, customs clearance, and warehousing expenditures, Pakistan’s exports of handmade carpets fell from $300 million to $68 million in 2015. The inclusion of hand knotted carpets in the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement provides duty-free access to China’s $2 trillion import market for 313 export goods.
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