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Executive Summary

 The panel has made an in-depth effort to explore all possible avenues of the carpet industry and its export. The study has been divided in to four parts.

Part I deals with history of the carpet industry along with major types of the product i.e. Hand Knotted Carpets and Machine Made carpets.

Part II of the report deals at length with the current situation of the industry in Pakistan. In part II the Afghan issue has also been dealt with as it is proving to be very crucial for the industry at the moment.

In part III the procedural aspects and other allied issues of the export of carpets have been discussed at length. These have been highlighted after discussions with local exporters. This part also deals with competitors and Pakistan standing in the world market. Child labour in Pakistan carpet Industry has also been highlighted here. The fourth and last part deals with recommendation which have been formulated basing on the study.          

The Pakistan Carpet Industry And Export

 

Introduction

The hand-knotted carpet industry of Pakistan has come a long way since its beginning in the early fifties. The carpet traders and weavers, who had migrated to Pakistan from Amritsar and other places after partition, began to ply their trade in a small way in response to the market demand.  Hand-knotted carpets are basically an export item; a microscopic fraction is used in side the country. Some importers from London began to visit Pakistan to buy hand knotted carpets and this gave a fillip to the industry. However, the fifties and sixties remained a period of slow growth, Carpets continued to be made and sold but there was no spectacular movement in the market. It was in the seventies that the market abroad began to boom and with this the Pakistan carpet industry became alive. Throughout the seventies carpet production continued to increase. What, however, really made the difference was the decline in the supply of Iranian carpets after the Revolution in 1979, There was a gap in the market, and the Pakistan carpet industry rose to the occasion to fill it along with the other carpet producing countries such as India, China, Romania, Turkey, Nepal etc. Production rose rapidly to take advantage of the situation,
Export figures skyrocketed, in 1971-72; Pakistan's earning from carpet exports totaled meager Rs, 109 million. By 1975-76 the income from carpet export had gone up to Rs. 719 million. It rose to Rs. 1,180 million in 1977-78 and then to Rs. 2,198 million in 1979-80. In 1980-81 carpet exports touched the highest ever figure of Rs. 2,243 million. There was a slight decline after that because of the recession in the world market. With the export income coming down to Rs, 1,6769 million and Rs. 1,913 million in 1981-82 and 1982-83 respectively. In 1985-86 the in come rose to Rs. 2,693 million. 1986-87 saw the income from carpet exports further rising, the exact figure being Rs. 3,419 million.
The export of hand-knotted carpets has not only gone up value and quantity wise but the unit prices of Pakistan carpet have also been appreciating. For in stance, the per unit price was Rs, 360 in 1975-76; it is now overRs.1,200, It is an amazing story of a small industry providing itself equal to the challenge of the world market by dint of sheer hand work. It has competed successfully against bigger rivals and has been able to carve a permanent place for Itself in the International carpet market. It has developed a strong manufacturing base producing quality goods that have become very popular among consumers in Europe and the United States.

Background And History

Hand knotted carpet, where every knot is knotted as such is very costly and has become luxurious item. Moreover its production is very slow and it takes about six months to produce a 6‘ X 8’ carpet. This has given rise to the use of machine made carpets. Although hand knotted carpets are now produced in many parts of the world. They are the exclusive heritage of the people living in the region comprising Iran, Southern Russia. Afghanistan and Pakistan- The inhabitants of these countries have from ancient times many things in common, including carpet making. Social and economic interchange among them is centuries old. Carpet weavers frequently traveled from one country to another in response to market demands and produced masterpieces of patterned, knotted yarn that still arouse wonder where ever they are preserved. The area now comprising Pakistan has tradition of carpet-making going back thousands of years. Weaving was developed form of art in the Mohenjodaro in Sind 4000-5000 year ago. The handmade carpets produced in Lahore in the 18th Century are on display in museums in Lahore and elsewhere.
There are many types of carpets. The main are
1.           Hand knotted carpet.
2.           Machine made carpet.

 

Hand Knotted Carpets

A Thing Of Beauty

Hand knotted carpets are not only the value for money, but they have also aesthetic value. The proud owners appreciate their exquisite craftsmanship, enchanting patterns and mystical beauty. Oriental rugs have fascinated and enchanted viewers and owners the world over for centuries. The beauty of oriental carpets is appreciated because of symmetry and patterns. Famous western scholars enjoy their patterns, and their symmetry is proved with the rigorous study of mathematics. Here complicated twisting of flowers, mystical animals and symbols are brought to life through intricate patterns of colored woolen yam.

Proud Islamic Heritage

The beauty of Oriental carpets can be approached not only in terms of art and mathematics, but also within the contexts of Islamic art and spirituality. Historically, throughout the Islamic world from Spain to Indonesia, patterns appear in architecture and interiors to organize space and to beautify the built environment. All patterns reflect the pure beauty of numbers, considered to be of divine origin in Islamic doctrine. And by their very nature, patterns exhibit multiplicity as expressions of unity, which is an attribute of God.

What Are Hand Knotted Carpets

Oriental carpets are made on looms made of wood or iron. The loom consists of two vertical poles with two horizontal bars across.  Cotton threads are stretched across the loom vertically. Some rugs also have wool and silk warp. The carpet is made by the weavers tying colored yarn to the warp and cutting it with a knife. The tying and cutting process goes on and on in rows and gradually the given pattern begin to emerge.  After each row of knots is woven, they are beaten down with a comb to impart solidity and thickness to the pile.

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Making Of Carpets

The beauty of oriental carpets also depends upon the quality of yarn that go into their construction. The warp consists of a set of parallel yarn held on a loom. The weft is composed of cross-wise yarn that interlace with the length­wise warp yarn as weaving progresses. The pile is formed by rows of what are called knots projecting from the foundation of interlacing warp and weft. Each knot is formed by inserting a supplementary yarn and wrapping it around a pair of warps. After weaving, the pile is cut to a uniform height. Only the pile yams are visible on the surface of a carpet. It is the pile that carries the colors, designs, and patterns. Thus, Oriental carpets are two-dimensional in the appearance of surface design; they are, however, three-dimensional in structure. The type of knot used in the construction of a carpet is one of several technical characteristics which, when considered with style, provides a means of grouping Oriental rugs. Comparing rugs with similar technical and stylistic features may help in figuring out where they may have come from and even who wove them.
Some of the important types of Hand Knotted Carpets being produced by the Pakistan are discussed below :- 

 

1.    Natural (vegetable) Dyes Carpets

A quality that has come to be produced in considerable quantities in    Pakistan is what we call Natural Dyes Carpets-carpets in which natural dyes and natural or wood colours are used. This quality was first produced by the Afghan refugees who came to Pakistan. But it is now being made in Pakistan by many Pakistanis as well.

2.   Kazak

Hand Spin Wool • Made by Afghan People in Pakistan.

3.   Chechn

Made by Afghan People in Pakistan.

 

4.   Kamahi Peshawar Quality

Pakistan has recently started making Peshawar Kargahi quality. This is basically a Turkomen design carpet which was made in Afghanistan. Now this design is being produced in Pakistan in sufficient quantities, it is a medium-priced carpet which is in increasing demand in various markets.

 

5.  16/16. Double Knott

This quality, one of the hottest selling items from Pakistan, is made in double knot and is known for ifs attractive designs and colour combinations, in terms of quality of Craftsmanship, knotting density and  beauty of appearance, it is close to and some times better than Tabriz.

 

6. Mori Bokhara

Mon Gul Bokhara carpets have become synonymous with the name of Pakistan This quality is generally made in two Knotting densities 10/20 and 11/22 The design is basically  Turkoman-Caucasian, Previously made in red. This quality is now being made in new attractive colours to suit modern taste. The weave is single knot and craftsman ship fine

 

7.  Jaldar

Jaldar carpets are another well known export item from Pakistan. Its design is simple but attractive and is made in a wide range of colours, Reasonable priced, it is a favorite of customers in Europe

8. Multan Quality

Multan quality carpets in pastel colours have been a popular item for long in Europe. This quality in the medium price range-comes in wide variety of designs and shades. For example, in a lot of 100 carpets of one size, as may as 80 different designs can be offered.

Machine Made Carpets

The group of machine made carpets are constituted   of various types of carpets by different processes and using different raw material. These types are as follows:
(a)  Woven Carpets.
1. Wilton carpets.
2. Axminister carpets.
(b) 1 Tufted Carpets.
(c) Bonded Carpets.
(d) Non-Woven Carpets.

A.   Woven Carpets

(1) Wilton carpets

Perforated pattern cards are used in weaving this type and are regulated by feeding of different colors of yarn into the looms by producing the desired patterns. The closeness of piles given a neat appearance. Jute and cotton yarn provides a strong foundation.

(2)  Axminister Carpets

The invention of machinery for two stages weaving for production of Chenille exminister carpets in 1830 by James Templeton and William Qurby of Glass gow coupled with Royal Axminister Looms in 1876 in USA introduced further development in the art of carpet weaving on machines. Axminister carpets have versatility in both design and colors and due to compact piles have excellent crush resistance.

B.  Tufted Carpets

Tufted carpets produced by using candle-wick process were first made in 1939 in USA and became popular due to their lower prices as compared to machine made woven carpets. Polypropylene fiber is commonly used as pile material. The tufts are inserted into back cloth by needles. In order to hold the tufted yarn, the other side of the foundation fabric is coated by some synthetic adhesive.

 

C.  Bonded Carpets

The bonded carpets, which is the latest product is not made by the weaving of yarn in the foundation fabric in the production of Wilton, Aximinister of Tufted carpets but put in a zig zag formation through a comb on jute backing coated with a PVC paste. This is then passed through a heated oven for final binding of the tufts. The bonded  carpets are as cheap as the tufted carpets

D.  Non-Woven Carpets

Non-Woven carpets do not involve use of yarn on the surface. Instead layers of fibers are spread on the foundation cloth and punched with needles. These have simple and plan appearance is single colors with felt like effect on the surface.

E.  Knitted Carpets

Knitted carpets are a recent development and can be made on Raschel needle, loom or weft knitting machines. Stripped yarn or hard twisted yarn is used to make the carpet more attractive 

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Current Situation In Carpet Industry
The last few years have been very important in the life off the Pakistan carpet industry. There have been structural shifts regarding volume of production and quality of goods. For long years production in quantity terms remained static around 20 million square feet. But during 1985-87 this figure has gone up by at least 25 per cent, The current production is estimated at 25 million square feet, and may rise to 30 million anytime soon. Another remarkable change that has taken place is that the industry is now fully attuned to the needs of the consumers. Previously, the industry worked on its own momentum and mostly produced what's known as the bazaar goods. But this is no more so. An overwhelmingly large part of the production is in response to specific needs of the consumers. The industry has been increasingly making what the consumer wants both as regards colors and designs. Traditional colors have been replaced by the colors preferred by the customers abroad. Similarly, old designs have been modified and new ones developed to answer to the needs of the consumers.
There are two main production lines-Maori Bokhara and Persian, Maori Bokhara is Pakistan's exclusive production and has a big market abroad. Many countries tried to copy this quality but did not succeed. While continuing with its Bokhara and Jaldar designs, the industry has lately developed new pastel the in this quality called 'Chitti Talim' which is in great demand in the United States, France and other countries. In the single-knot quality the industry has also made Persian designs and successful marketed it abroad,               
In the Persian double-knot quality, too. a number of innovations have been introduced While Persian 16/18 quality continues to be made in its traditional designs and colors, lately this quality has begun to be made in fashion colors in vogue in the United States and other markets. In recent years, Persian 16/18 qualify in the all-over design has also proved very successful some markets. As part of the innovatory process Persian designs are also being made in 13/15 and 14/16 knotting densities.
Adjustments to market requirements have also found manifestations in the development of new specific size asked for by the consumers. Previously very few large size carpets were made in Pakistan, But now much of the industry is geared to producing large-size carpets particularly in Persian 16/18,The industry is now sophisticated enough to produce many odd sizes, too, to cater to the needs of sections of the American and European markets.
The overall prospects for the Pakistan carpet industry are bright and, if all goes well, the industry should be able to reach the export figure of Rs. 400 million in a couple of years. This would be no mean achievement since carpet is a high value added commodity. It has more value added to it than any other export item. In a carpet worth Rs. 100,over75 percent is value added; the raw material used is only 25 percent. Another distinction of the hand-knotted carpet industry is that it is very labor intensive. It employs as many as one million persons and, most important, it provides employment to people in the rural areas, where avenues of gainful employment are few.
The biggest problem of the Pakistan carpet industry is its inability to maintain strict quality control because of scattered, manufacturing. Looms are dispersed all over the country, especially in remote village areas, as a result of which quality cannot be ensured in the way the exporters would like. There is no factory production as in China, India or even Turkey, because strangely enough, although the industry is basically Cottage in nature ,it does not enjoy tax holiday. In fact a large number of looms are lactated in the far flung areas of Punjab   and much of the production originates from these places
Afghan Situation And Carpet Industry
Afghan carpet dealers have started transferring capital from Pakistan to Afghanistan suspending work on the multi-million rupees carpet town scheme at Chamkani in the outskirts of Peshawar. The future of the proposed carpet weaving project plunged into darkness after the repatriation of may skilled Afghan artisan. According to market forces, return of a number of carpet weavers following the debacle of Taliban regime had adversely affected carpet business related economic activities in the provincial capital of NWFP.
A 60-member team of Afghan traders and businessmen from Peshawar and Islamabad recently visited Kabul and discussed investment opportunity   It is reveled that the interim government of Afghanistan has asked the Afghan traders to shift their capital and also assured them of an investment Friendly environment. Businessmen in Peshawar feared that the repatriation of skilled man power and transfer of capital to Afghanistan would be a serious blow to the newly-born carpet industry of the NWFP. The business of hand-knotted carpets have flourished in the frontier province during the last half decade. In 2000-01, according to the All Pakistan Commercial Export Association $130 million carpets had been exported from the NWFP to Europe and America  while from July to December 2001 the carpet-export figures touched $42 million.
The prevailing recession in the international market and the return of skilled artisans to Afghanistan had affected carpet business in the local market. An exporter said that he had never experienced such a slowdown in the carpet business during the last few years as 95 per cent carpet dealers in Peshawar were Afghans and majority of them are planning to go back to Afghanistan after the proposed Loya Jirga that may be held in April.
The NWFP government had leased out some 90 acres of land to Afghan carpet dealers at Chamkani to set up carpet weaving units at an estimated costofRs180 million. Initially 60,000 Afghan artisans were to engage in the town, Besides, 75 acres of land was allotted to the Afghan investors at Khurasan Camp, Peshawar, for setting up another carpet town to boost carpet and rugs export. But when the Taliban  government collapsed in November 2001, the investors changed their mind and suspended work on the project. Initially 470 carpet makers had got registered their units, but after the fall of the Taliban government they have refused to further invest in Pakistan.
Export in EU Markets
After doubling its exports to the US during the last few years through innovative designs, Pakistan's carpet exporters are now eyeing the European markets, which are increasingly receptive to the design that were introduced in the US. This interest was evident at the 'Domotex’ Fair held at Hanover, Germany in recent past. The 'Domotex Fair' was the largest carpet fair in the world. All the Pakistani stalls in the fair attached large number of customers. It is said that Pakistan's 'Chobbi' design was the most sought after commodity at the fair. A study by The News revealed that the Pakistani carpet sales in Europe have increased steadily during past two years, both in terms of quantity and in terms of per unit price. This is in sharp contrast to the US market where the per unit price decreased appreciably in two years, although the exports at most doubled in terms of quantity.
Pakistan exported 40,699 meters of carpet to UK during Jan-March 2000 fetching 2,828,000 Euros in the process, The exports increased during the same period in 2001 to 46,112 square meters fetching 3,727.0000 Euros. Exports from India declined by 22 percent during the same period.  In Holland, the exports in quantity during Jan-Mar 2000 were 4,397 square meters valued at 313.000 Euros which increased in 2001 to 5,191 square meters with export value of 368,000 Euros. Carpet exports from India to Holland declined by 33 percent during same period.
In Denmark, carpet exports from Pakistan increased by 98 per cent during the same period in terms of value, although the increase in terms of quantity was only 67 per cent while those of India increased in quantity by 42 per cent and in value by 39 percent. Pakistan's exports to France in 1999 were 620 ton and the export value was $71.59 million, which increased in 2000 to 622 tons.
Pakistan's exports to the US in the year 1998-99 in terms of quantity were 1083143 square meter, which fetched Pakistani exporters Rs 4.19 billion. The exports in creased to 1918353 square meter in 2000-2001 but in terms of value the exports were worth on Rs6.47 billion The exports in terms of value merely increased by 50 per cent although the quantity increased by over 80 per cent.
 A leading carpet exporter Shahid Hassan Sheikh said, the carpet exports at present are under stress due to world recession and some flaws in government policies, however, he added, the carpet exporters from Pakistan have adopted a dedicated approach to minimize the impact of both recession and government policies. He said Pakistan has emerged as the most innovative producer of new designs and varieties of carpets. He said the gains made in the US market during the past five years are now beginning to give Pakistan an edge in the European markets. He said as a country US remains the single largest importer of oriental hand knotted carpets but the European Union as a single community imports larger quantity than the US.  It has been found that US carpet market until recently was monopolised by the Jews. However some Pakistani and Indian entrepreneurs have also established themselves in very limited capacity to produce innovative designs. Much would depend upon the fate of the Afghan refugees who have the skill to produce these design. If there Afghans go back to their native country, the capacity for producing innovative carpets would be further reduced in Pakistan. Pakistani artisans are fast picking up the art but are still few in number.
Major Carpet Producing Regions
Oriental Carpets come from traditional rug-weaving areas of the world: Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Central Asia, western China, and India. In the 15th and 16th centuries, they were also produced in Spain and Egypt. Over the centuries, rug-producing regions developed distinctive styles based upon local traditions of manufacture, availability of materials and dyestuffs, and preferences for particular patterns, designs, and colors.   The export details with respect to Pakistan’s competitors are given in the following tables.

Export Of Carpet From Pakistan

Country
Partner
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
Pakistan
World
148902
230837
192068
204359
240883
Pakistan
USA
40309
74697
74983
85958
103480
Pakistan
Germany
23365
36709
27030
34803
37040
Pakistan
Japan
14735
22597
15767
10339
8837
Pakistan
France
14667
13980
8527
10978
12243
Pakistan
United Kingdom
6962
11668
10963
9824
10559
Pakistan
Italy
10888
7977
4952
6892
9767
Pakistan
Switzerland
4273
8185
5094
4529
5186
Pakistan
Singapore
2617
4958
4400
2717
6077
Pakistan
United Arab Em
2226
3753
4423
3721
5760
Pakistan
Canada
2647
2953
3977
4150
5778

Export Of Carpet From India

Country

Partner

1995

1996

1997

1998

India

World

155653

116074

126971

191842

India

USA

62973

41312

51750

98899

India

Germany

61451

37615

38481

58508

India

United kingdom

2697

3399

4727

5867

India

Canada

3839

3560

3140

3005

India

Netherlands

4106

3449

2941

2107

India

Australia

2567

3219

3312

2378

India

Switzerland

3468

2997

2454

2155

India

Spain

1434

2299

2681

2412

India

France

1524

1615

1931

2064

India

Austria 

2269

2754

827

1012

 

Export Of Carpet From Nepal

Country

Partner

1999

Nepal

World

128929

Nepal

Germany

97608

Nepal

USA

12431

Nepal

Austria

4795

Nepal

Switzer land

3037

Nepal

Sweden

1980

Nepal

Spain

1584

Nepal

Netherlands

1317

Nepal

United Kingdom

1300

Nepal

Australia

559

Nepal

France

539

 

Export Of Carpet From China

Country

Partner

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

China

World

293915

212648

191304

166279

146908

China

USA

178070

164816

83590

84545

89901

China

Japan

37028

17271

22139

10897

7920

China

Germany

17230

8605

19552

18294

9463

China

United kingdom

7248

3082

17954

15217

10162

China

Italy

9829

5355

10400

9233

7613

China

Turkey

458

1533

6707

3763

1575

China

Canada

6553

363

2248

2094

1955

China

Hong Kong 

7477

1707

1568

564

899

China

Switzerland

2562

866

2916

1979

1559

China

Saudi Arabia

1877

310

3346

2592

12

Competitors & Share In The World Market

At the moment India, China, Nepal and Pakistan are the countries from our region which are competing in this industry. Pakistan is having approx 10% share in the world market. Pakistani product are liked by the customer (specially in Europe & USA) because of its oriental style and high quality. Our product in NO CASE facing any threat from competitors. However the competition is very tough. Pakistan’s export because of “ STYLE”, “HIGH QUALITY” and “ BETTER PRICING STRATEGY” is maintaining its credibility among the competitors.  

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