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August 5, 2020

Pakistan exports witness 5.8pc growth

Top Story

August 5, 2020

ISLAMABAD: While envisaging exports target based on three different scenarios ranging from $22 billion to $24 billion for the current fiscal year, Pakistan’s exports fetched $1.998 billion in July 2020 against $1.889 billion in the same month of last fiscal year 2019, witnessing 5.8 percent growth in dollar terms.

The imports stood at $3.54 billion in July 2020 against $3.696 billion in same month of 2019, recording a decline of 4.2 percent. The overall trade balance reduced by negative 14.7 percent as it stood at $1.542 billion in July 2020 compared to $1.8 billion in same month of 2019.

The exports have bounced back on growth trajectory after witnessing decline in last four months from March to June 2020.

Pakistan’s exports stood at around $21 billion for the last fiscal year 2019-20 ended on June 30, 2020.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood told The News on Tuesday that the global trade had not yet come out from the dip in the wake of lingering COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that exports of India went down by 13.7 percent and Bangladesh by 17 percent but Pakistan’s exports bounced back by demonstrating 5.7 percent growth in July 2020 compared with regional players. The exports jumped up in July 2020 after witnessing consistent decline amid outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020.

To another query about exports target, Abdul Razak Dawood replied that they developed three different scenarios on the basis of which the exports of goods could fetch $22 billion to $24 billion during the current fiscal year. The exports of goods and services, he said, might touch $30 billion mark in the ongoing fiscal year. He said the food processing exports went up by 300 percent, clothing and garments 300 percent.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, chaired an internal strategy meeting, at Ministry of Commerce Tuesday, to review the recent trade statistics and devise plans for improving the exports. The meeting was attended by senior officers of the Ministry.

The latest statistics of exports and imports of Pakistan were reviewed in the meeting. The data for July 2020 shows an export growth of 5.8%, in dollar value terms, as compared to July 2019. This growth was recorded after a decline in exports for the last four months, since March 2020, when there was a drop of 8% compared to same period last year. This declined widened in April 2020, with a drop of 54% in exports, which improved but remained at 35% in May 2020, improving further to only 6% fall in exports in June 2020, as compared to same period last year.

The strategies for product and geographical diversification were also reviewed in the meeting, in context of the recent trade statistics. One of the major sectors which showed good progress is Food Processing sector where a growth of over 300% was observed in July 2020. Similar growth was witnessed in Made-Ups and Clothing Accessories sectors. In addition, Fish and Fish Products sector recorded a healthy growth of 50%, while Home Textiles sector, which was declining in the previous months, is now back up with 24% growth.

In terms of exports, a major decline is witnessed in rice and cement, which fell down to 24% and 12% respectively in July 2020, as compared to same period last year. There is also a decline in the export of raw leather and cotton yarn, which is a clear indication that the government’s policy to pursue value-added exports is showing results.

On the import side, a decline of 4.2%, in dollar value terms, was recorded in July 2020, as compared to July 2019. Due to this increase in exports and decline in imports, a 14.7% improvement in trade balance is witnessed in July 2020 as compared to July 2019.

On the geographical diversification, not much progress has been shown in July 2020 as the exports still seem to be heavily dependent on traditional export markets.

Talking in the meeting, Abdul Razak Dawood appreciated the exporters as well as the government departments for coordinating their efforts in the testing times during the ongoing pandemic. He added that this achievement is particularly noteworthy because of the fact that a decline was being observed until the last month and a turnaround of around 12 percentage points has been achieved in just one month.

Dawood underlined that the Ministry of Commerce will be evaluating its geographical diversification in order to re-align the focus towards new opportunities. He also advised the Ministry officers to extend all kind of necessary support to the exporters in order to achieve the targets, not only in terms of numbers but also with regards to intended policy outcomes.