ISLAMABAD: The month of March saw an increase in the exports of value-added and non-traditional products owing to the government’s support for the sector, data released by the Ministry of Commerce showed.
The commerce ministry added that the country’s overall exports remained above the $2 billion mark for the sixth consecutive month in March since 2011.
Cements exports posted a growth of 61 per cent in March, followed by home textiles 34pc, men and women’s garments 29pc, rice 10pc, fruits and vegetables 54pc and meat 47pc compared to the corresponding period last year.
The data showed a decreasing trend in the exports of mostly non-value-added products. Exports of tobacco and cigarettes decreased by 22pc, tents & canvas 36pc, cotton waste 20pc, and tracksuits 14pc during the month under review compared to March 2020.
On a geographical basis, exports to the UK, US, China, Germany, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan increased in the month under review while there was a decrease in exports to the UAE, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data showed that exports proceed in March reached $2.361bn as against $1.810bn over the last year, marking an increase of 30.44pc. Between July and March, total export proceeds stood at $18.685bn as against $17.443bn over the last year, showing an increase of 7.12pc.
In March, the import bill was recorded at $5.632bn compared to $3.308bn over the last year, showing an increase of 70.25pc. The nine-month import bill was reported at $39.512bn as against $34.791bn over the last year, showing an increase of 13.57pc.
Trade deficit in March reached $3.271bn compared to $1.498bn of last year, showing an increase of 118.36pc. Trade deficit in the nine-months reached to $20.827bn as against $17.348bn of last year, marking an increase of 20.05pc.
Exporters unhappy over yarn move
The Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) on Friday expressed its disappointment over the decision of not allowing imports of cotton yarn from India via Wagah.
In a statement, PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail Sheikh and Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar said the textile and apparel export sectors are already under pressure due to the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic and have been demanding duty-free imports of cotton yarn from all over the world including India to avert any big losses.
Mr Sheikh requested the federal cabinet to allow import of low-cost cotton and yarn from India as the ECC has already given its approval in this regard. Mr Khokhar said rejection of the Economic Coordination Committee proposal would convey a negative message to foreign buyers.
The government must ensure the availability of cotton yarn in the country if it does not want to allow its imports from India, he added.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021