ISLAMABAD: Pakis­tan’s exports to European countries dipped year-on-year by 7.54 per cent in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, mainly due to reduced demand for Pakistani goods in western, southern and northern Europe.

The export proceeds from these countries fell to $4.866 billion in July-January FY24, a drop from the $5.263bn recorded in the corresponding months of the previous year, according to figures compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan.

This decline in export proceeds indicated the challenges faced by Pakistani exporters in these economically uncertain times despite having preferential access to 27-member EU countries.

In FY23, exports to the EU dropped 4.41pc to $8.188bn from $8.566bn in the preceding fiscal year. However, the decline in exports was seen despite the Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme.

In October 2023, the European Parliament unanimously voted to extend the GSP+ status for another four years until 2027 for developing countries, including Pakistan, to enjoy duty-free or minimum duty on exports to the European market.

Western Europe, which includes countries such as Germany, the Nether­lands, France, Italy and Belgium, accounts for the largest portion of Pak­istan’s exports to the EU.

However, there has been a significant decrease of 13.85pc in exports to this region. The export value stood at $2.393bn in the first seven months of FY24, down from $2.778bn during the same period last year.

While exports to western, southern and northern Europe have seen a decline, there is a silver lining in the form of an uptick in exports to eastern Europe. Exports to southern Europe saw a paltry decline of 0.22pc to $1.743bn in 7MFY24 from $1.747bn over the corresponding period of last year.

In this region, exports to Spain saw a growth of 5.67pc to $856.423 m in 7MFY24 from $810.461m over the last year. Exports to Italy stood at $649.433m in 7MFY24 against $661.932m over the last year, indicating a decline of 1.88pc.

However, exports to northern Europe have not done well, recording a 7.59pc decline. The export value to this region stood at $0.365bn this year, down from $0.395bn over the corresponding months of the previous year.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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