Pakistan looks to trade boost as India lifts ban
03 Aug 2012
Pakistani purveyors of a variety of lightweight cotton that has become a rage in its home country, are looking to an opening of the Indian market that is expected to deliver a huge boost to sales.
The decision announced by the Indian government on Wednesday to lift a longstanding ban on Pakistani businesses setting up shop in India (See: India allows FDI from Pakistan) has been hailed as a breakthrough in efforts to boost low trade levels between the two neighbouring countries.
Some Pakistani commentators say the decision to allow investment from Pakistani businessmen could potentially "drastically reshape the Pakistani economy", which for decades had been blocked from a vast potential market of like-minded consumers in India due to simmering political tensions.
However, for all the products that would start flowing across the border, the Pakistani speciality known as "lawn" could be the first to make it through the gates. For decades the traditional cotton cloth had been bought by women for making elegant outfits that were particularly well-suited to the hot south Asian summer.
In recent years the country's fashion designers have revamped the staid designs produced by textile mills and created a hugely popular branded product, with advertising hoardings in cities plastered with giant images of Pakistan's top models donning the latest lawn collections.
Indian consumers' enthusiasm for Pakistani design was in evidence at a trade show in Delhi earlier in the year where many of the lawn retailers were mobbed by crowds.