Say use of different product codes is not giving real export figures.
KATHMANDU, Nov 8: Official figures of pashmina exports in the Fiscal Year 2016/17 show a decline of 11.31 percent year on year. However, traders claim that real foreign currency earning through pashmina export is rising steadily.
This is because knitted products like poncho, cardigans and outers made of pashmina are not included in the official figures of the export. Such fine knitted clothes are exported by using a different Harmonized System (HS) code which is excluded in the official figures.
Bijaya Dugad, vice president of Nepal Pashmina Industry Association (NPIA), claims that pashmina export has, in fact, increased since FY 2015/16. Dugad told Republica that the demand for knitted pashmina product has increased remarkably in recent years.
Knitted pashmina products has a different HS code compared to woven pashmina products.
“The statistics prepared by the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) does not include the export of knitted pashmina products which is worth around Rs 450 million. The data only includes exports of pashmina scarves and shawls, while leaving out export of sweaters, poncho, cardigans and other knitted products,” added Dugad.
He also urged the government to calculate export figures of both knitted and woven products to ascertain total export of pashmina products.
According to Dugad, the nation export pashmina products worth Rs 2.9 billion in FY 2016/17.
Rajendra Singh, deputy director of the Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), seconds NPIA's claim. “We have seen a surge in export of knitted pashmina products categorized with HS code 6110.10, while overseas trade of woven pashmina products exported under HS code 6214.20 may have decreased. Due to the use of different codes, we have not been able to take the export under both codes into consideration,” he added.
According to a report published by the central bank, Nepal exported pashmina products worth Rs 2.758 billion in FY 2015/16 despite the 2015 earthquakes and the unofficial economic blockade by India. However, the NRB says export receipts fell to Rs 2.451 billion in the following year.
Dugad, however, admitted that the demand for pashmina products among Nepali customers might be falling as these local products are dearer compared to mass-produced Chinese products.
Naresh Man Shrestha of Namaste Handicrafts Nepal -- a pashmina store in Patan Dhoka, said that there has been drop in export and sales of pashmina products to a certain extent. “Due to financial meltdown in Europe, export to Europe has fallen significantly,” he added.
Owner of pashmina stores in Kathmandu say that Nepalis prefer cheaper apparels imported from China over locally made fine pashmina wears. Mohan Khatri of Pashmina House at Basantapur Darbar Square says: “Nepali customers are looking for quantity over quality, and with the availability of Chinese goods in lower price, consumers have been opting for cheaper winter wears over costlier Nepali pashmina products.”
With the arrival of winter, the demand for sweaters, jackets and other warm clothes have increased exponentially. While Nepal may import huge amount of winter wears from across the world, pashmina, perhaps one of the finest fabric in the world, has been one of Nepal's key exports for the past many years.