KARACHI, Oct 23: Pakistan’s export to China doubled in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, but exports to most of the regional countries fell during the period.

State Bank’s latest report showed that Pakistan could not improve its trade ties with the neighbours except China while trade volume also remained thin.

During the first quarter, exports to China rose to $635.8 million from $362 million in corresponding period of last year.

The export growth reflected the trend that started three years back and rose to $4.314 billion in FY-12 from $3.283 billion in FY10.

Imports from China grew more rapidly as it rose to $1.063 billion during the first quarter compared to $994 million of previous year.

Economic ties with the China witnessed a number of developments, like currency swap agreement and recent permission to Pakistan’s central bank to invest in China’s internal Bonds market.

However, trade balance is in favour of China as Pakistan’s export was about half of the imports from China in FY-12.

In case of regional trade, Pakistan could not improve the situation.

Trade with India, the second largest country in terms of population, was thin and almost same like previous year.

According to official data, exports to India in the first quarter increased to $71 million against $59 million of last year while imports slightly increased to $278 million from $255 million.

Exports to Afghanistan fell to $301 million from $449 million while imports from Afghanistan were almost negligible as these were just to the tune of $6.9 million as against worth $2.5 million last year.

Export to Bangladesh also fell to $151 million during this quarter compared to $171 million.

However, imports from the country had no match like Afghanistan and it was just $12 million during three months.

Trade with Iran was also at a low level as its exports increased to $44 million as against $48 million last year, and imports fell to $19 million as against $53 million the previous year.

Business community says the government has no policy to improve regional trade while exporters find it easy to remain stick to traditional markets.

“The only change we see in the case of China as government is making efforts to improve trade ties with the old friends,” said Aamir Aziz, a manufacturer and exporter of textile goods.

He said there was a need to develop a competitive strategy for trade with the regional countries.

He said that regional trade had vast potential as the entire region is in the developing phase that offers huge opportunities.

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