Regional exports post marginal growth

Published December 11, 2022
PAKISTAN trades with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives via sea only.—Dawn/file
PAKISTAN trades with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives via sea only.—Dawn/file

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to nine regional countries posted a negative growth of 1.32 per cent in the first four months of the current fiscal year from a year ago mainly driven by a drop in export proceeds to China, the latest data released by the State Bank of Pakistan showed.

The country’s exports to Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives account for a small amount of $1.264 billion — just 13.22pc of Pakistan’s total global exports of $9.56bn in July-October.

China tops the list of Pakistan’s regional exports leaving other populous countries India and Bangladesh behind. But Pakistan’s exports to China posted negative growth in the first four months. The bulk of the regional exports share, which accounts for 53.66pc, is with China while the remaining is for eight countries.

Pakistan’s exports to China declined 11.15pc to $678.38m in July-October from $763.57m in 4MFY22. The decrease in export proceeds was noted for the first time in the post-Covid period.

Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan posted a positive growth of 10.89pc to $176.01m in July-October from $158.72 m in July-October 2021. Till a few years ago, Afghanistan was the second major export destination for Pakistan after the United States. The export figures did not include proceeds that were materialised through the land routes.

Proceeds from China witness first post-Covid fall of over 11pc in July-October

The exports to Afghanistan started to decline in August 2021. The government has allowed maximum imports from Afghanistan in the rupee on a land route in the post-Taliban regime period. The figures did not reflect those imports made in rupees.

The government has also exempted the import of tomatoes and onions from duty and taxes from Afghanistan and Iran. As a result, the import of these kitchen staples posted massive growth in the past couple of months to bridge the shortage in local supplies.

Pakistan’s exports to Iran on the official channel remained $0.018m in FY23 against no exports last year. Most of the trade with Tehran is carried out through informal channels in border areas of Balochistan. The government has allowed the import of onions and tomatoes at Taftan and Gwadar border customs stations to meet local demands.

The country’s exports to India declined 8.33pc to $0.110m in July-October this year from $0.125m in 4MFY23. In the wake of the monsoon rains, the standing crops of vegetables and cotton were vastly destroyed. There is a strong demand for allowing the import of cotton at the Wagah border and vegetables.

Exports to Bangladesh increased 20.68pc to $294.86m in July-October from $244.32m in July-October 2021. Similarly, exports to Sri Lanka increased by 2.37pc to $111.48m from $108.90m in the same months last year.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s exports to Nepal declined by 69.46pc to $1.026m from $3.34m in 4MFY22. Exports to the Maldives increased by 19pc to $2.62m from $2.20m. A marginal export worth $0.045m to Bhutan was recorded in the first four months of the current fiscal year against no exports last year.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2022

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