During the Financial Years 2019 and 2020, Pakistan’s overall imports declined by 10% and 19% respectively. However, during the FY 2021 the imports increased by 27% Year-on-Year (YoY) basis and in FY 2022 by 42.21%.
The following is the brief summary of Pakistan’s trade performance during the last three years;
Key steps taken by the Ministry of Commerce to enhance Pakistan’s trade with major trading partners in South East Asia and East Asia during the last year along with the results thereof are delineated as under:
- The implementation of Phase-II of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) since January-2020 is a significant feat for Pakistan. The significant features of Phase-II of CPFTA inter-alia includes immediate tariff liberalization on 313 tariff lines, balance of payment clause, more robust safeguard measures, protection of domestic industry and electronic data exchange to curb under-invoicing and mis-declaration.
- During last year, the Ministry of Commerce in consultation with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan launched an awareness campaign for the unutilized tariff lines for exports under CPFTA-II. Despite, Pakistan participated in renowned exhibitions in China such as China-ASEAN Expo and China International Import Expo. The Hon’ble President of Pakistan also delivered an online recorded speech on the opening of 18th Session of China-ASEAN Expo held in September 2021.
- During visit of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan to China in Feburary-2022, the Ministry of Commerce shared a set of proposals, firmed up in consultation of the industry for enhancement of exports to China. A follow-up virtual meeting on these proposals between the Chinese Commerce Minister and the former Advisor to PM on Commerce and Investment was also held on March 30, 2022. The Ministry of Commerce-China and Ministry of Commerce-Pakistan has also established a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade, Investment and E-Commerce. The first virtual meeting of the JWG was held on September 1, 2022.
- As a result, Pakistan’s exports to China have increased by 32.06% in FY 2021-22 from US$ 2.33 billion to US$ 3.06 billion.
- Indonesia and Pakistan signed a Preferential Trade Agreement, Indonesia Pakistan Preferential Trade Agreement (IP-PTA) in 2012 which is operational since 2013.
- The Ministry of Commerce engaged with Indonesia to review the existing Preferential Trade Agreement with Indonesia (IP-PTA) to make it equally favourable for Pakistan. As a result of successful negotiations, Indonesia agreed to grant unilateral concession on 20 tariff lines of Pakistan’s export interest which became operational on March 1, 2019.
- Two meetings of the Joint Negotiation Committee between Pakistan and Indonesia have also been held in August 2019 and April 2021 to explore the possibilities for expansion of the existing Preferential Trade Agreement into a Free Trade Agreement.
- In last year, active engagements with Indonesian authorities led to timely release of Kinnow import permits in December 2021 for imports in January 2022. Earlier delay in grant of the same had resulted in decline in Kinnow exports from Pakistan.
- Moreover, coordination with the Ministry of Trade in Indonesia facilitated clearance of many rice consignments reaching Indonesian ports after expiry of buyers’ permits (SPI). Timely intervention by the Ministry of Commerce helped in attaining an extension for SPI.
- Pakistan and Malaysia signed the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) in 2007 which is operational since 2008. In last one year in Malaysia, the focus remained on engaging different government and private stakeholders to get further market penetration for different products.
- As a result, Pakistan’s exports to Malaysia reached to an all-time high level at $ 459 Million. The major growth in exports has been witnessed particularly in Rice (141%), Maize (1293%) and petroleum products (100%).
- In South Korea, the issue of Import Suspension on forage was taken up with the Korean side which resulted in lifting of the ban. Following the suspension and having secured market access, Pakistani animal feed products were introduced to the Korean Food Association.
- Though the results of the interactions would follow in future, the export value of animal feed in last 6 months (July-December 2021) was US$ 1.2 million with 113% increase compared to US$ 588 thousand in the corresponding period.
- In Thailand, clarification on market access of “Dry and Semi Fresh Dates” without any requirement of Pest Risk Analysis process was secured from Department of Agriculture, Thailand.
- Pakistan’s exports to Thailand witnessed sharp decline due to COVID-19; however, in the year 2021-22, exports to Thailand rebounded with a quantum jump. First time in history of bilateral trade, Pakistan’s exports to Thailand reached an all-time high at US$ 365 million.
Note: The above statistics and information were shared with the National Assembly by the Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar on October 24, 2022.