WASHINGTON: Pakist­an’s annual exports to the United States increased by 35 per cent to $9 billion in 2021-22, statistics released on Saturday showed.

Last year, Pakistan exported $7bn of goods and services to the United States. Noting this net increase of $2bn in a year, Pakistan’s US Ambassador Masood Khan said, “there’s great potential for further increase in our bilateral trade.”

In 2021-22, Pakistan imported $3bn worth of goods from the US, compared to $2.4bn in 2020-21. Thus, the total trade volume between Pakistan and the United States has increased to $12bn from nearly $9.5bn last year.

Ambassador Khan pointed out that the US has maintained its primacy as the largest export destination for Pakistani goods anywhere in the world.

“If the exports continue to grow at the rate of 35pc per year, in the next three years overall Pakistan-US trade volume would cross $20bn, which would still be a modest goal given the immense potential that is there between the two markets,” he said.

The ambassador said that the remarkable growth of overall Pakistani exports should “contribute to the stability of Pakistan’s economy and assuage fears being stoked. “What we need the most is market confidence”, he added.

A breakup showed that goods constitute $6.8bn of the total exports to the US while the component of services, including IT, is $2.2bn in FY22. Last year, the Pakistan-based tech startups earned around $800 million out of which 60pc has been funded by US-based Venture Capital firms, primarily in San Francisco. Top American Venture Capital firms like Kleiner Perkins, Tiger Global and Sequia have started supporting Pakistani startups at the pre-seed, seed, and incubation stages.

“The emphasis is on connectivity and productivity as well as tangible results,” Ambassador Khan said, adding that early dividends would be forthcoming soon.

Earlier this week, Salman Sufi, who heads the prime minister’s team for strategic reforms, also discussed various proposals for enhancing bilateral trade with US officials in Washington.

At the White House, he met National Security Council Director Courtney Dunn, discussing a wide range of issues with him, including the resumption of direct PIA flights to the US.

The two sides also talked about posting a representative of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Karachi to ensure Pakistani products get clearance at home.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2022

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