ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to the Middle Eastern countries increased by 36 per cent during the current fiscal year, data released by the Ministry of Commerce showed on Monday.
The ministry claimed that the growth in export proceeds was achieved owing to several initiatives but did not share any details on the actions.
Three major commodities posted impressive growth between July 2019 and April.
The rice exports to the region increased by 59pc in value from $264 million to $420m, meat from $127m to $200m, an increase of 57pc during the period under review. And fruits and vegetables exports enhanced from $70m to $140m, an increase of 100pc.
The data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan showed exports to the UAE surged by 28pc during the July-March period. The export value reached $1.244bn this year as against $971.173m over the corresponding months of last year.
Pakistan’s export to Saudi Arabia increased by 42.9pc to $352.164m during the July-March period this year as against $246.419m over the corresponding months of last year. Pakistan’s exports to Saudi Arabia mainly include rice, fruits, vegetable preparations, apparel and clothing, and made-up articles of textile.
Currently, negotiation on a preferential trade agreement covering both tariff and non-tariff barriers are pending before the two governments.
Exports to Qatar increased 50pc to $108.898m during the July-March period this year as against $72.49m over the corresponding months last year. Similarly, exports to Bahrain also witnessed a growth of 8.33pc to $52.856m as against $48.789m over the corresponding months last year.
Pakistan’s exports to other countries in the region remained stagnant during the period under review.
Meanwhile, exports to Iran during the July-March period stood at $0.055m as against $2.892m over the corresponding period of last year. Pakistan mostly trades on a barter basis with Iran, which does not account in the official figures. On the other hand, the country’s exports to Afghanistan, once Pakistan’s second-biggest export market after the United States, dropped by 10.8pc to $789.437m as against $885.779m over the corresponding months last year.
Pakistan has closed its border stations with Afghanistan since Mar 15. Only $61m worth of goods were exported to the neighbouring country during March. The government has virtually banned all kinds of exports to Afghanistan except kinno.
Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2020