Asia - Pacific

Pakistan sees nearly 70% rise in exports to China

Pakistan enjoys zero duties on exports of hundreds of products to China under free trade deal

Islamuddin Sajid   | 05.05.2021
Pakistan sees nearly 70% rise in exports to China

ISLAMABAD

Pakistan recorded nearly 70% increase in exports to China in the first quarter of 2021, an official said on Wednesday.

"Impressive figures of Pakistan's exports to China in 1st quarter of year 2021. $888 million as compared to 2020' Q1 $526 million. An increase of 69%," Moin ul Haque, Pakistan's ambassador to China, said on Twitter.

Haque praised his team for, encouraging for more: "Let us keep this momentum to achieve a historic record in 2021."

Last year, phase two of the much-touted China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement came into effect, which now allows Pakistani manufacturers and traders to export around 313 new products to the Chinese market with zero duties.

Pakistan is already enjoying zero duties on exports of 724 products to China under the first free trade pact signed between the two countries in 2006. After implementation of the second pact, Pakistan has been now allowed to export more than 1,000 products to China with zero duties. The new facility is particularly benefiting the agriculture, leather, confectionary items, and biscuits product sectors as well.

In 2019, Pakistan also signed an agreement with China to use Chinese currency for bilateral trade to get rid of the dollar burden in $15 billion bilateral trade.

According to official data, Pakistan and China's bilateral trade volume grew to some $15.6 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $2.2 billion in 2005.

The two longtime allies are also partners in the multi-million-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious project to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks to boost trade and stimulate economic growth.

The $64 billion mega-project signed in 2014 aims to connect China's strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.

The economic corridor will not only provide China with cheaper access to Africa and Middle East but will also earn Pakistan billions of dollars for providing transit facilities to the world's second-largest economy.


- Exports to other countries

Despite rise in exports to China, Pakistan has witnessed fall in exports to its western neighbor Afghanistan and other regional countries apparently due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic during past year.

The country's exports to Afghanistan fell 5.57% to $746.3 million over the last nine month of fiscal year 2021, compared to $790.3 million during the same period of last year, according to leading daily Dawn.

A few years ago, Afghanistan was the second-major export destination for Pakistan after the US.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's exports to India also plunged 90.5% to $2.2 million this year from $23.1 a year earlier, according to the report.

Islamabad's exports in 2020 dropped by over 90% to $28 million from $311 million in 2019, following suspended trade and diplomatic ties with India after New Delhi’s move to scrap the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir.

However, Pakistan's exports to Japan and some central Asian countries witnessed an increase.

Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to Pakistani premier on commerce and investment, said in a statement that Islamabad's exports to Japan grew by 47% to $86.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2021.

"The exports of seafood, petroleum, dry fruits, spices, minerals, woven fabric, knitted garments, sports goods, cutlery & dates increased," he said.

The official also said that Pakistan's exports in April also stood at $2.19 million.

"This is the first time since 2011 that our monthly exports have crossed the 2-billion mark for seven consecutive months," Dawood stated.

However, he said, "the export growth of 129% over Apr-2020 cannot be taken into account due to lockdown last year."

The country's exports from July 2020 to April 2021 rose by 13% to $20.8 billion compared to $18.4 billion year-on-year, Dawood noted.

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