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- Saturday, September 15, 2012 - From Print Edition


LAHORE: Pakistan has not kept pace with the growth in global trade as its share has reduced from 0.20 percent in 1990 to 0.18 percent in 2011, while all other regional players have multiplied their share, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) statistics.


The total global exports in 2011 stood at $18,255 billion whereas the total global imports were $184,380 billion. The total global trade amounted to $36,693 billion in 2011, the WTO data said.


Pakistan’s exports during 2011 were $25.344 billion and its imports were worth $44.012 billion during the same period. Pakistan’s total trade volume in 2011 was $69.35 billion, which is equivalent to 0.18 percent of the total global trade.


Interestingly, India almost tripled its global market share to 1.10 percent in 2004 and then to 1.80 percent in 2011 from 0.40 percent share in total global trade in 1995. Similarly, China also quadrupled its share in the global trade to over 9.8 percent.


Many local businessmen attribute Pakistan’s failure to excel in the free market global trade on the government’s textile centric policies that fail to deliver even in that sector.


“Pakistan’s textile and clothing share in the global textile market stood at 3.95 percent in 2011” said Almas Hyder, an engineering entrepreneur. He said according to the WTO the total global textile and clothing trade in 2011 was recorded at $1,447 billion.


He said Pakistan’s share in global textile trade was merely 1.034 percent as the country’s textile exports and imports during that year amounted to $14.965 billion of which the exports were $13.632 billion. He said Pakistan’s share in textile and clothing at the start of the century was around two percent. He said textile and clothing accounts for almost 60 percent of Pakistan’s exports while agricultural products exports like rice, fruits and vegetables account for 15 percent of the total exports.


He said: “engineering goods that account for over 65 percent of the global trade have nominal share in our exports”. Engineering industries, he said, are capital intensive and have a higher gestation period before they start delivering. This sector needs more facilitations and support from the state to make a mark in global markets, he added.


Auto vendor Nabeel Hashmi said even one percent share in global engineering trade would fetch Pakistan $200 billion in exports. He said the engineering sector is denied even a fair share in the international trade fairs sponsored or facilitated by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.


Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Punjab) Ahsan Bashir said that textile industry has been operating without any clutches for the last two decades. “We operate on the principles of the open market economy,” he said, adding that the textile sector lags behind regional competitors not because of incompetence but due to the failure of Pakistan’s planners to match the facilitations and incentives that the regional countries provide to their textile exporters.


Hashmi further said: “We have been denied level playing field at the global level”. He said if the textile sector in Pakistan has access to bank finance at the same rate as that available in India and China, the industry could increase its exports immediately by 30 percent.


“If the government brings down inflation to the regional average and provides the same facilitations as made available to the textile exporters in competing economies, we could further increase our exports by another 40 percent,” he said.


“If the energy and power issues are adequately resolved and law and order situation matches that in neighboring countries, we could further enhance our textile exports by 30 percent,” he said.