ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to the 28-member European Union (EU) posted a growth of nearly six per cent in January-September 2017 on a year-on-year basis.
This shows that the Generalised System of Preferences-Plus (GSP+) scheme largely failed to boost exports to the EU.
Total export proceeds to these countries amounted to €5.07 billion during the period under review against €4.79bn a year ago, according to EU official data available with Dawn.
Latest figures show an upward movement compared to the similar period in the preceding calendar year. Annual growth recorded in January-September 2016 was just 3.5pc.
The GSP+ scheme became effective on Jan 1, 2014 and will remain available for the next 10 years.
A product-wise analysis shows large variations. For example, exports of garments and hosiery witnessed a growth of 90.9pc to €2.05bn during the period under review.
The second biggest export category was home textiles, which grew 72.4pc to €1.3bn.
Imports of garments, hosiery by 28-member bloc increased 91pc in January-September
The share of these two products stood at 65pc in January-September against 37.6pc a year ago. The third biggest export category was cotton and intermediary goods of textiles, which increased 16.4pc to €640.9m.
Exports of the articles of leather increased 6pc to €254.7m while the rise in rice exports was 11.6pc to €109.6m. Exports of sports goods (footballs) rose 41.8pc to €102.7m while foreign sales of surgical goods grew 22.4pc to €58.1m. There was a 21.1pc increase in footwear exports to $58.1m during the period under review.
Products that generated less than €40m of export proceeds in January-September include plastics, minerals, machinery, carpets and cutlery. Exports of chemicals, articles of rubber and pharmaceuticals remained less than €10m.
Country-wise data shows that the highest growth of 37.8pc came from the United Kingdom as its imports from Pakistan surged to €1.02bn during the period under review. Exports to Germany were up 39pc to €995.4m.
Both the UK and Germany have emerged as major export destinations for Pakistani goods under the GSP+ scheme. The increase in exports to the UK is an encouraging factor. However, exporters fear they will lose the UK market following Brexit. London, however, has assured Islamabad of no change in the post-Brexit scenario.
The third biggest market for Pakistan’s exports is Spain. Exports to Spain went up 99.9pc to €663.9m. Spain was not the third biggest export destination until recently. It became Pakistan’s leading trading partner within the EU in the past couple of years owing to its extensive marketing strategy.
Pakistan’s exports to Italy increased 34.15pc to €490.9m. Exports to the Netherlands went up 56.1pc to €480.6m and those to France rose 24.9pc to €353.9m.
Exports to Belgium increased by 22.7pc to €296.9m, Poland by 121.9pc to €112.9m, Sweden by 46.4pc to €111.48m,
Denmark by 81.7pc to €103.95m, Portugal by 22.7pc to €86.4m and the Czech Republic by 98pc to €63.6m.
Export proceeds to the remaining 17 EU countries were far less than €60m in terms of value. However, the increase in exports to all countries was in double digits in percentage terms.
Pakistan’s exports to Austria increased by 64.8 pc to €54.05m, Ireland by 34.6pc to €44.7m, Greece by 47pc to €44.13m, Finland by 30.5pc to 22.16pc, Slovenia by 116.7pc to €17.73m, Romania by 19.86pc to €14.81m, Bulgaria by 82.04pc to €14.2m, Hungary by 98pc to €11.7m, Croatia by 5.2pc to €10.4m, Estonia by 1.02pc to €7.46m, Cyprus by 145pc to €4.3m, Latvia by 41.3pc to €3.9m, Malta by 35pc to €2.16m and Luxemburg by 95.9pc to €0.17m.
Exports to Slovakia declined 6.2pc to €14.03m and those to Lithuania dropped 3.7pc to €13.4m.
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2018