LAHORE: Due to an increase in imports of raw material for sports good and attached taxes, a six per cent decrease was witnessed in the exports of this sector in the financial year 2018-2019.
However, the exports of footballs and gloves, which constituted 40 per cent and 23 per cent of the total exports of sports good, increased marginally.
According to State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) Economic Data Section, in FY18, the total exports of sports goods in FY18 was $551,442 but they decreased to $518,577 in FY19. The exports of footballs stood at $208,789, whereas in FY19, the figure increased to $209,325. Similarly, the exports of gloves stood at $118,852 in FY18, whereas the figure grew to $119,031 in FY 19. The export of other sports goods, however, witnessed a decrease as they amounted to $223,801 in FY18 but decreased to $190,221 in FY19.
According to the UN COMTRADE ITC World Trade Map, the top markets for sports goods exported from Pakistan are Germany, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Denmark. Pakistan exported sports good worth 36,332 to Germany in 2016, $30,696 in 2017 and $33,664 in 2018. The exports to US amounted to $19,124 in 2016, $19,622 in 2017 and $23,653 in 2018. The exports to the UK in 2016 were $20,586, $16,898 in 2017 and $18,797 in 2018. The exports to Netherlands were $11,744 in 2016, $12,402 in 2017 and $13,700 in 2018. Moreover, the exports to Denmark were $9,356 in 2016, $10,123 in 2017 and $10,595 in 2018.
While the data provides a disappointing picture, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) believes that Pakistan has a number of opportunities ahead. “The 2022 FIFA World Cup presents an array of opportunities for the sports industry of Pakistan. Footballs top the list of opportunities for Pakistan’s sports industry as the country has been supplying footballs for FIFA World Cups since 1982. Pakistan provided latest technology-equipped thermo bonded footballs in last two FIFA World Cups in Brazil and Russia,” an LCCI report states.
The report also states that Pakistan’s current football exports are stagnant around $209 million but have the potential of taking a sizeable leap in the next couple of years by tapping export opportunities presented by 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Pakistan’s sports garments industry can tap into the market for providing sports jerseys for companies like Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour. These companies provide official jerseys for players, officials as well as for millions of football fans across the globe. Synthetic fibre gloves would also be required in 2022 FIFA World Cup and Pakistan’s manufacturers have the capacity of producing high-quality synthetic gloves, considering their expertise in producing gloves for other sports like boxing and cricket. Pakistan’s current exports of sports gloves are around $119 million but can increase considerably by tapping the potential of synthetic fiber gloves in World Cup 2022,” the report added.
“Football shoes can also be exported by our local manufacturers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with focus on producing top quality shoes made of synthetic fibers instead of leather. Similarly, there is also potential of exporting ancillary sports equipment e.g. shin pads, sports bags and water bottles,” report further stated.
Pakistan Sports Goods Manufacturers and Exports Association Secretary General Mohsin Masood told this scribe that the decline in exports is because of the additional taxes imposed by the government on the import of raw material. “We are paying high taxes and this is this why our products are expensive. The world wants affordable items from Pakistan but this is not possible under this taxation regime,” he said, adding that the government should provide relief to the manufacturers and reduce the taxes on the imports of raw material.
LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that like other export-oriented industries of the country, the sports goods industry needs to upgrade its technology to meet the strict quality standards of the international markets. “We have also provided the prime minister with a road map to improve this situation,” he added.