ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to the UK saw a double-digit increase during the last fiscal year of 2020/21, crossing the two-billion-dollar mark for the first time despite Brexit uncertainties, according to the ministry of commerce on Friday.
The commerce ministry announced that exports to the UK increased 33 percent to $2.025 billion during the last fiscal year compared to $1.526 billion in the preceding fiscal year, an increase of $499 million.
“The UK is a very important trading partner and is the first time that our exports have crossed $2 billion mark,” Adviser to Prime Minister Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood wrote on Twitter.
“I would like to commend our exporters for this remarkable accomplishment. I also commend MOC’s trade and investment officers in the UK and urge them to work harder in finding opportunities for our exporters and provide facilitation to our businessmen,” Dawood added.
The growth came in the midst of coronavirus-led world transition with global economy having loosened growth pace rapidly, exerting pressures on low- and middle-income economies to tediously recover from the downfall. However, it also created opportunities on exports front for economies like Pakistan that is benefitting from diversion in export orders and utilization capacity of industries.
Being a major partner in the Europe, the UK’s economic slowdown could not affect Pakistan’s economy because of its smallest market share in Britain. Even its exit from the main European Union (EU) block – that applies concessional tariffs on products coming from Pakistan under the generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) plus – didn’t lead to negative implications.
Before the Brexit, exports to the UK were governed by the GSP plus scheme of the EU.
Pakistan Business Council said the UK is Pakistan’s fourth largest market for exports and 85 percent of Pakistan’s exports to the UK consist of other made-up textile articles, articles of apparel, cotton and articles of leather. All these products enjoyed duty-free access to the UK under the GSP+.
The UK is also Pakistan’s 15th largest source of imports. Major imports from the UK include iron and steel, machinery, electrical/electronic equipment, other made-up textile articles, and miscellaneous chemical products. Under the GSP+ scheme, 96 percent of Pakistani exports had preferential market access to the UK.
A number of times, British government has assured Pakistan of continuous support despite Brexit. Unlike general perception that the Brexit would be hurtful, it hasn’t been so far.