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The textile and clothing industry in Pakistan constitutes the country's most important industrial activity by far and fulfils a crucial economic role. The industry is a major source of employment and is a major contributor to Pakistan's gross domestic product (GDP), exports and foreign exchange earnings. The industry is diverse and broadly based but most of its focus is directed towards the production and processing of products made from cotton. The industry has experienced a significant number of setbacks over recent decades -- mainly as a result of political unrest and economic difficulties. It has operated with inefficient units, antiquated manufacturing machinery and disruptions to its energy supplies, which have had a particularly adverse effect on its output. Also, the industry faces an increasing number of competitive threats from the textile and clothing industries in other Asian countries. On the positive side, however, the industry stands to benefit from duty-free access to European markets following the granting of GSP+ status by the EU. In recognition of the urgent need to update the industry, the Pakistani government has given support to the Balancing, Modernisation and Replacement (BMR) programme, through which obsolete machinery is being replaced with the latest manufacturing equipment. Also, in a document entitled Textiles Policy 2014-19, the Ministry of Textile Industry has outlined a number of key objectives for the five years to the end of the 2018/19 financial year -- including substantial new investment, an emphasis on products with higher added value, and a new focus on developing a skilled workforce. Furthermore, the Pakistani government is developing incentives to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the textile and clothing industry in Pakistan.
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