The ‘Make in Pakistan’ initiative is a smart move by the government to attract leading international brands to do their sourcing in collaboration with Pakistan’s local enterprises. This is a catch for the brands in terms of sourcing not far away from the market where they intend to sell. A major chunk of the US’s top brands moved their sourcing from China because of the infamous US-China trade wars. Now one country, China, was a sourcing hub for a greater chunk of these brands. They would manufacture in China and supply to the giant Asian consumer market.
Their departure from China means these brands and retailers will prefer other countries that can host them. Pakistan’s initiative is an invitation to these big manufacturers and sellers to set up their offices in the country. As an incentive, the brands that will source with local enterprises will get office space as well as finances from the Export Development Fund (EDF) in the initial six months. For Pakistan’s local industry, this would mean more workforce engagement and hence employability, as well as a boost for the local industry.
To attract major brands to do this, Pakistan’s textile and apparel industrialists will arrange roadshows in international exhibitions in various cities across the world. These roadshows will help introduce the local industry to global retailers. To bring the international brands to do sourcing from Pakistan will not be smooth sailing and in this preview, roadshows are the good way to go. Pakistan’s textile and apparel human resource is an attractive capital. To capitalise on it, the initiative is a good way to start.
With only 48% of US apparel firms currently sourcing from Pakistan the initiative seeks to capitalise on the shifting dynamics in the global trade landscape. This initiative aligns with the evolving priorities of international fashion companies, emphasising risk mitigation in supply chain management and environmental sustainability. The physical presence of leading fashion brands in Pakistan will also make the rather small ratio of local consumers happy. Consumers in urban centres are not only familiar with international fashionistas but also prefer to buy from them.
The initiative has been announced and incentivised. The first test for Pakistani enterprises is to attract global brands. Once that happens, the industry will evolve and modernise with time. The ‘Make in Pakistan’ initiative, though, should not turn us away from the ‘Made in Pakistan.’ While the former is essential to boost the economy, the latter is a journey of ownership and reputability.