A decision to allow foreign textiles and clothing into the local market was expected to be approved by the government by early November. It is likely to come into effect on 1 January 1995.

A tentative agreement was reached between the governments of Pakistan and the US and the EC at a 15 October meeting in Brussels. It calls for restrictions to be removed from the import of fibres, yarns, fabrics, home furnishings and clothing, and for tariffs to be lowered over the next ten years. This follows a commitment made by Pakistan at the Uruguay round of the General Agreement for Tariffs & Trade (GATT) to open up its textile markets.

As soon as the agreement is ratified by the Pakistani government, the US and EC are expected give their approval. The agreement has been welcomed locally, as higher quality goods will become available. ‘Most of the local production is for the lower end of the market,’ says Pakistan National Textile Mills director M. Shakir. ‘The people are very delighted,’ he adds.