ISLAMABAD: Paki­stan’s exports to nine regional countries witnessed a growth of 6.23 per cent in 11 months of the outgoing fiscal year, data released by the State Bank of Pakistan on Saturday.

The country’s exports to Afgha­nistan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives account for a small amount of $3.528 billion — just 15.62pc of Pakistan’s total global exports of $22.576bn in 11MFY21.

China tops the list of countries in terms of Pakistan’s exports to its neighbours, leaving other populous countries India and Bangladesh behind. Pakistan carried out its border trade with the farther neighbour Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives via sea only.

Pakistan’s exports to China posted positive growth during July-May 2020-21. Bulk of the regional exports share, which accounts for 51.89pc, is with China while the remaining is for eight countries.

Pakistan’s exports to China recorded a growth of 19.28pc to $1.831bn in 11MFY21 from $1.535bn in 11MFY20. The increase in export proceeds was noted in the post-Covid period. However, imports from China grew 38.75pc to $11.454bn during the period under review against $8.255bn over the last year.

Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan posted a growth of 8.29pc to $895.380m in 11MFY21 from $826.802m in the same period in FY20.

The country’s exports to India plunged 90pc to $2.283m this year from $25.009m in 11MFY20. The imports from India dipped 52.99pc to $168.730m against $358.936m over the last year. The government has suspended trade relations with New Delhi.

Since the arrival of Covid-19 pandemic, the government has only allowed import of pharmaceutical products from India.

Pakistan’s exports to Iran jumped 74.5pc to $0.261m in 11MFY21 from $0.055m in 11MFY20. Most of the trade with Tehran is carried out through informal channels in border areas of Balochistan. No imports were made from Tehran during the period under review.

Exports to Bangladesh decreased 12.9pc to $551.552m in 11MFY21 from $633.787m. Imports from Dhaka posted a growth of 67.27pc to $73.052m this year against $43.673m over the last year. Similarly, exports to Sri Lanka dipped by 12.92pc to $237.618m in 11MFY21 from $272.884m in the previous year. Islamabad has signed the first-ever FTA with Colombo but trade between the two countries remains far behind its true potential.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s exports to Nepal plunged to $4.274m in 11MFY21 from $20.844m the previous year. Exports to Maldives dipped to $5.564m from $6.744m. Export proceeds to Bhutan were recorded at $0.155m in 11MFY21 against $0.094m over the last year.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2021

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