Statement at the launching ceremony for the Pashmina Enhancement and Trade Support (PETS) Project
Speech by Ms. Arancha González, Executive Director, International Trade
Delivered on 10 March 2014 at the launching ceremony for the Pashmina Enhancement and Trade Support (PETS) Project, Kathmandu, Nepal
(CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY)
Minister of Finance, Ram Sharan Mahat
Executive Director of the Enhanced Integrated Framework, Ratnakar Adhikari
Representatives of the Nepal Pashmina Industry Association, the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Nepalese Industries
Members of the Diplomatic Corp
Ladies and Gentlemen,
" Namaskar. Aaja malai yaha ayera dherai dherai khushi laagyo."
When I speak to those in the fashion industry through the work that ITC does on ethical fashion and I mention ‘Nepal’, one of their immediate responses is ‘Pashmina’. Today’s launch of the Pashmina Enhancement and Trade Support Project is one important step towards broadening that recognition to the wider market and creating a ‘Brand Nepal’ in pashmina production. The discussions today have already revealed not only the importance of this project to the partners in Nepal, but also the pride and cultural heritage involved in the production of Pashmina wool.
I am particularly happy that the International Trade Center (ITC) is associated with this venture, and that we are collaborating with the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, and the Nepal Pashmina Industry Association. This is an example of a true partnership, and clear evidence of the important role that the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is playing in Least Developed Countries. The EIF, admirably stewarded by your fellow countryman Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari, has been critical in helping build capacity within the government to bring this project to the table. And this is why I think the international community has a strong interest in continuing its support for the EIF post 2015 given that the demand from Least Developed Countries to translate their priorities into action will only increase.
ITC is equally committed to working with the private sector organisations here today, and their members, to make this project a success and being the first of many more to come. I am fully committed to ensuring that ITC remains a long term partner to Nepal.
The Nepal Trade Integration Study (NTIS) identified the pashmina sector as an export priority; and we are pleased to work with the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies to increase brand recognition and international competitiveness of the sector. ITC has 50 years of in-house expertise in supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and we are constantly upgrading our solutions to respond to the needs of our clients. Here we can offer Nepal our expertise in developing the value chain of fibres, textiles and clothing. ITC has vast experience in this regard.
In cotton we are working with a number of African cotton producers and ginners to bring them closer to the markets and cotton-consuming spinning mills. This not only creates greater transparency along the value chain but supports producers to add value to their cotton products.
In Peru, we work with alpaca manufacturers, with a strong focus on women entrepreneurs, where we have helped in creating new products and designs while also linking manufacturers to the market.
We are also beginning work in cashmere production in Mongolia where we will partner with women entrepreneurs to add value to their products and link them to major high-end markets.
In Nepal, we will help in promoting your Chyangra pashmina with the aim of establishing it as a high-quality product with a strong reputation in world markets. We anticipate three key outcomes from our work with Nepal in this area:
One, to support the Nepal Pashmina Industry Association (NPIA) to provide sustainable services to its members and Chyangra pashmina stakeholders. The ITC works with trade support institutions to strengthen their services and outreach to the business community. We will support NPIA to develop an organisational plan and improve its service portfolio for members; tap into additional funding alternatives for sector support; provide training on value chain analysis to integrate goat farmers into the Nepalese value chain; and build their capacity to undertake surveillance of the Chyangra pashmina trade mark and address any infringements which may occur.
Two, we will support Chyangra Pashmina manufacturers increase exports in target markets through more consistent supply and improved competitiveness. For this we will strengthen product and design development capacities at institutional and enterprise level; and assist enterprises to expand existing markets and/or identify new ones. The intention is also to help shop owners in Kathmandu to transform their existing retails spaces into modern attractive shops which provide an authentic shopping experience.
For this we need to better understand the market and potential clients. This is critical to effectively match your product with demand. This impacts the production and distribution strategy, as well as the pricing structure. Once we understand buyer requirements and identify and address bottlenecks along the Chyangra pashmina value chain, we are confident that we will have a product to take to market.
And this is where the third component of ITC’s expertise will be utilised – that of marketing and branding. We hope to assist you in creating a ‘Nepal Pashmina’ brand that will reflect the quality of the product, the cultural heritage of your country, and respect for the work of every single Nepalese worker along the production value chain.
Collaboration is key. This is why we will draw on the work we have done with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to ensure that the Chyangra pashmina will be promoted worldwide and its trademark protected, at least in the domestic tourism market, if not beyond. ITC is already closely collaborating with the Asian Development Bank-financed High Mountain Agribusiness and Livelihood Improvement (HIMALI) project, and the Nepal Pashmina Industry Association will be supported and strengthened to access funds for value addition activities in the Himalaya regions, including working with goat farmers to add value to the raw fibre. Third, ITC has other export development projects which could be linked to this project. To illustrate, ITC is launching a project to support exporters from Asian LDCs trade with China. There is therefore scope to synergise the outcomes of this project to assist Nepal in tapping into the fast growing Chinese high-end market. This would also contribute to another shared objective – diversifying into new and emerging markets and enhancing south-south trade.
In closing, let me reaffirm my pleasure at being here today to launch this project together. Nepal is a country of great potential and I assure you of my personal commitment to support ITC’s work here. We have a shared aim to develop and retail the Chyangra pashmina trademark. With me, you will have your first customer!