Pakistani marble & granite sector has potential: USAID

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KARACHI: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Firms Project, participated in the 3-day, Institute of Architects Pakistan’s (IAPEX), 9th international exhibition of building products at the Karachi Expo Center.
USAID Firms Project’s 12 partner beneficiaries from the Pakistani Marble and Granite Sector got the opportunity to showcase their products and develop new market linkages and avenues for their businesses. Showcasing unique marble varieties like ‘Ziarat White’, ‘Black and Gold’, ‘Verona’, ‘Indus Gold’, ‘Silky Black’ and marble / granite value-added products like mosaic work, tiles and inlay designs, captured the interest and attention of prominent contractors and architects from across Pakistan as well as the foreign delegates.
USAID’s interventions in the sector has enabled these partner businesses to streamline and modernize their businesses and develop new market linkages, filling the gap that is otherwise present between architects and processors within the construction industry of Pakistan and abroad.
Shakir Ullah, owner of Pak Marble, Charsadda, a partner of the USAID Firms Project Marble and Granite Sector, commented that the buyers not only visited the exhibition but also showed great interest in the marble products displayed.  
He said that, “We aim to carve a niche in the local and international markets by introducing Pakistani marble that has its own distinct style and value, to the buyers visiting the exhibition this year. There is a growing demand for marble products and both local and international buyers prefer the Pakistani marble for its high quality and variety.”
“Participating in this exhibition has introduced me to many new buyers, with many of whom I hope to realize business agreements. The exhibition has also helped to create awareness about various varieties of marble that are distinct and unique in their features within the communities of builders and architects,” added Jibran Khan, from Karcon Marble.
Under its objective of developing dynamic, internationally competitive private sector small and medium businesses, the USAID Firms Project will continue to prioritize the marble and granite sector, connecting partner businesses with architects, distributors and construction companies locally, as well as internationally, to develop new market linkages and to increase efficiency and product quality as well.
Through these interventions, the partner businesses are now able to penetrate local and international export markets, and it is expected that by December 2014, around $0.8 million in private-sector investment will be mobilized, with an increase in revenues of the businesses by $2.6 million. 

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