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‘June exports recover from double-digit downward trend’


July 3, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Exports posted an improvement in June after falling only six percent in June in dollar value terms as compared to decline of 54 percent in April and 33 percent in May, according to the commerce ministry.

Pakistan’s exports were on an upward trajectory near the end of February before the outbreak of the pandemic, showing an increase of 14 percent year-on-year in dollar value terms, officials on Thursday told a meeting attended by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood. The momentum for February continued despite the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, as the first 10 days of March registered an increase of 13 percent year-on-year.

However, export-oriented industry suffered in mid-March because of a lockdown, followed by a global economic slowdown and that reflected in March figures, which showed the decline in growth by eight percent. Dawood said exports are showing clear signs of recovery due to the efforts of the exporters to diversify the products, in the wake of new opportunities arising amid COVID 19 pandemic, and support from the government.

“The figures also indicate the strategies for geographical and product diversification are bearing fruits,” he said.

The meeting was told that there was significant improvement in exports to Africa, which was an outcome of ‘Look Africa Policy’, as well as the Middle East. Similarly, export of meat products has shown good growth, while tobacco shows a promising future. Similarly, in the overall textile sector, value-added products have shown improvement while, at the same time, the export of cotton yarn and fabric has gone down.

Trade balance has improved by $8.7 billion, which shows that the current account deficit is also at manageable levels.

Dawood said export sector has been given a new impetus by the government by allowing export of personal protective equipment, barring three items, which is indicated by the surge of exports in June.

“Other policies of the government for diversification of exports and international markets will enable us to continue the thrust in the current fiscal year as well,” he said.

The adviser said the traditional exports of Pakistan, like garments and bed wear are also picking up and would show improved performance in the new fiscal year of 2020/21. Talking about the export strategy, the adviser reiterated that greater emphasis would be on product diversification, including engineering products, pharmaceuticals, agro products and services.

“The beginning of export of home appliances and geographical diversification of cement export to China and Philippines are clear signs of success,” said Dawood. “I am optimistic towards achieving the export targets in the new fiscal year and the policy of product and geographical diversification will continue to be actively pursued for success in this regard.”