While the country possesses huge export potential in furniture, Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC)’s three-day 6th Interiors Pakistan exhibition has been opened at Lahore Expo Centre on Friday. The essence of the mega furniture exhibition was to promote furniture and associated products at local and international level. Members of diplomatic corps, leading businessmen, foreign delegations from China, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, Hong Kong, Thailand and, Bangkok are participating in the exhibition in which almost 100 brands are exhibiting their products.
Visitors are also enjoying special discount of up to 20 percent on different items exhibited at the event. Diamond Foam is the prime sponsor of the event, while Dolce Vita Home, Habitt, NM Furnishers, National Furnishers, Interwood, Ambiance, ChenOne Home, Dawon Chairs, Index Furniture, Fantac, Style & Comfort, Torch, Furniture Kingdom, Profine, OffiSys, Charag Din & Co, Offix and Purani Yaadein are the other major exhibitors.
Pakistan’s wood industry is well developed and captures 95 percent of the country’s total market for furniture. The country has more than 700 units of wooden furniture with Chiniot, alone meets 80 percent of furniture demand in the country.
Pakistan imported furniture worth Rs1.69 billion in 2015-16, which was a mere consumption of our hard earned foreign exchange. Furniture industry in Pakistan had a great potential, as it can be both a labor intensive and capital-intensive sector. Skilled craftsmen can create unique pieces while large scale factories can produce many identical units in both cases adding to the employment.
Talking to media after inauguration of exhibition, Commerce Minister, Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said the government will provide a package of incentives and all out support to furniture sector to boost the export as well as improve the quality and design of local handmade furniture at par with international standard.
Khurram said that made-in-Pakistan furniture is in great demand abroad because of its better quality and economically cheap than other countries. He said that holding of this type of exhibition and participation of international players gives soft image of Pakistan globally and attract a sizeable number of other foreign investors. He said that entire credit of this mega exhibition goes to the top leadership of Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) headed by Mian Kashif Ashfaq. He said that the government will fully exploit the huge potential of furniture sector and provide a set of facilities for imparting training to workers attached to this sector.
Appreciating the efforts of PFC, the minister said it was a pleasant surprise for him to see variety of classy and outclass local handmade and solid furniture under one roof which has potential to capture foreign buyers in international markets. He said “trade fairs are among the most important instruments in business-to-business communications and PFC is holding consecutively exhibitions in different cities of the country for promotion of the furniture industry,” adding the government will provide all kind of supports to furniture producers and designers to conduct international exhibitions abroad.
He said Pakistan is moving forward in a better position to attract investment and it is highly appreciable that PFC is exerting full force to create opportunities for the foreign investment in the country by creating business-to-business contacts with foreign furniture producers. He said that Pakistan’s investment profile has been upgraded by all leading rating agencies on account of successful economic reforms and improved security situation.
Answering a question, he said it is also responsibility of the furniture producers that authenticity and mastering of raw materials should be made the cornerstones for the competitiveness of ‘niche’ or ‘ethnic’ furniture at the high-end of the market. “High perceived value for price, timely deliveries and proper after-sales service are needed for keeping Pakistani furniture a winner. Quality assurance must be improved and Pakistani furniture brands strengthened,” he added.
He said that labor of this industry has great skills and potential and if used properly than there would be no hurdle for Pakistan to be among the countries which were best exporters of the furniture.
Khurram Dastgir said that in coming days designing and value addition has great importance and best designs have been exhibited in this exhibition. He said it would also help the people of those areas where designs were not in focus that there was a lot of space to work in this sector. He said that more advancement in this industry would not only help in meeting local needs but would enable to meet needs of international market.
Replying another query, Khurram Dastgir said now there is no such policy under consideration to impose ban on import of furniture. He said when the government will find that exports of the furniture has been increased remarkably and there is no such need of import items, then there is possibility of imposing ban on import.
On this occasion talking to media, PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq said more than 100 leading and medium companies displayed their products while four foreign furniture producers also exhibited their items. He said the response from public and foreign furniture producers is tremendous and he is much optimistic in coming exhibitions more foreign furniture producers will display their products in PFC exhibitions.
Answering a question, he said we are shifting our technology from handmade and solid furniture to machinery made furniture items. He said Pakistani furniture is a little expensive as compared to those countries that are producing machine made furniture. He said most of the countries have great scope for Pakistani Furniture, because they like Pakistani Traditional Hand-Carved furniture designs with classic finishing and similar designs can be replicated in international markets, therefore efforts must be made to promote furniture exports by more regular participation in international shows.
“Pakistan furniture industry has made great strides over the past recent years. Owing to a growing interior industry that have paved way for skilled workers, furniture manufacturers and interior designers have benchmarks that has attracted foreign clientele,” he added.
Talking about the philosophy behind these exhibitions, he said “The vision behind Interiors Pakistan is to create a space for furniture display and promotion across the country. The national exhibitions groom local producers to access the international markets and increase their potential markets,” adding he said this exhibition will also provide the younger designers and architects to study the market trends.
Mian Kashif Ashfaq said PFC will hold its 7th Interiors Pakistan exhibition in Islamabad in March next year and they are also planning to conduct six exhibitions total in one year in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore consecutively.
The Federal Minister Khurram Dastgir during the visit of stalls invited the board of directors of Pakistan Furniture Council to Islamabad equip with concrete specific proposals and demand for boosting the furniture sector in the country.
Important exhibitors including Maliks Farooq CEO Interwood, Shahbaz Aslam CEO Charag Din and sons, Muddassar Shafi Diamond Group, Maqbool Elahi CEO Mohkam Furniture, Rizwan Ahmed CEO National Furniture and GM PFC Hamid Mahmood were also present on this occasion.