Govt working to increase exports, says commerce ministry

Updated March 08, 2020

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Pakistan’s exports to 10 countries dropped during the first eight months of the current fiscal year from a year ago, while exports revived to six destinations, according to data released by commerce ministry. — Reuters/File
Pakistan’s exports to 10 countries dropped during the first eight months of the current fiscal year from a year ago, while exports revived to six destinations, according to data released by commerce ministry. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to 10 countries dropped during the first eight months of the current fiscal year from a year ago, while exports revived to six destinations, according to data released by commerce ministry.

No explanation was given by the Commerce Division to explain the decline. However, the ministry said it will continue to work on improving exports in these destinations.

Pakistan’s exports to India dropped by almost 97 per cent to $8 million during the July-Feb from $246m a year ago. But at the same time, imports from India dipped by 69pc to $318.25m from $1.03bn over the last year.

Pakistan had suspended trade relations with India since August 2019 in the wake of Pulwama attack. However, Islamabad has allowed import of medicines and pharmaceutical raw materials from New Delhi.

Trade analysts believe Pakistan continues to trade with India via a third country. The only justification in support of this argument came from substantial increase in exports to the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan’s export to the UAE surged by 54pc during the period under review mainly led by rice.

Pharma imports from India continue, trade being done via third country

Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan, once Pakistan’s second biggest export market after the United States, dropped by 32pc. However, exports to the neighboring country have declined due to tensions especially border closure diverting the trade to Iran and India via Chabahar port.

Between July and Feb, Pakistan’s exports to Vietnam declined 32pc, South Korea 23pc, Indonesia 32pc, Guinea 85pc, Philipines 33pc , Belgium 7pc, Papua New Guinea 96pc, and Madagascar 31pc.

Pakistan’s export to the UAE went up by 54pc, USA 4pc, Netherlands 17pc, China 9pc, Germany 11pc, Saudi Arabia 38pc, Malaysia 49pc, Thailand 44pc, Yemen 96pc and Oman 37pc. Product-wise details showed value-added textiles led the growth with impressive quantum jump in exports. The exports of ready-made garments went up by 13pc in value and 16pc in quantity while knitwear went up by 8pc in value and 12pc in quantity. Similarly, bedwear exports were up 4pc in value and 10pc in quantity.

Food and agriculture exports also increased during the period under review indicating upturn in export-oriented sectors. The exports of basmati rice went up by 37pc in value, while vegetables exports were up 71pc, meat and meat preparations 52pc, fish and fish preparation 12pc. However, exports of wheat and sugar went down by 90pc and 24pc respectively due to voluntary government ban following a shortage in the local markets.

Leather garments exports were up 13pc, surgical and medical instruments 7pc, leather gloves 9pc and footballs 12pc.

Contrary to these, exports of petroleum products dipped 62pc, petroleum crude 28pc, oil seeds 58pc, plastic materials 10pc, gloves 20pc and cement 6pc. The exports of cotton cloth dipped by 2pc, tanned leather 18pc and made-up articles 5pc. Decline in raw cloth and leather is positive omen for value added industry.

On the flip side, data released by the ministry showed Pakistan’s imports increased from 10 nations during eight months under review including Netherland by 130pc, Iran 93pc, Egypt 156pc, Brazil 6pc, Vietnam 38pc, Taiwan 26pc, Algeria 185pc, Denmark 61pc, Nigeria 16pc and Canada 8pc.

At the same time, some decline in imports was also seen from UAE, down 20pc, followed by India at 69pc, Japan 45pc, Saudi Arabia 27pc, Qatar 25pc, Thailand 40pc, Indonesia 13pc, Germany 2pc, and UK 22pc.

Product-wise, top imports products during period included electrical machinery and apparatus, up by 34pc, mobile phones 81pc, raw cotton 39pc, iron and steel scrap 8pc, liquefied petroleum gas 19pc, power generating machinery 3pc, pulses 5pc, aircrafts, ships and boats 7pc, worn clothing 12c and spices 7pc.

However, import of petroleum crude dipped by 27pc during July-Feb from a year ago, petroleum products 14pc, other machinery 25pc, iron and steel 32pc, motor cars (CKD/SKD) 53pc, fertiliser manufactured 32pc, parts 50pc, all other metals and articles 24pc, motor cars 73pc and LNG 6pc.

The data showed import of other textile items declined 41pc, and all other food items 10pc during the period under review.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2020