Due to the COVID-19 crises, Pakistan exports in the region have dropped by 5.7 per cent in the nine months of the current fiscal year, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) revealed on Monday.
Pakistan exported goods and services as little as $2.788 billion to neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, India and Iran.
The figure is just 14.91 per cent of the total global export of Pakistan, which stood at $18.688 billion in the current fiscal year.
Pakistan largely exported to China; they are at the top of the list, leaving India and Bangladesh behind.
In terms of percentage, Pakistan exports to China are 50.46 per cent, and the remaining share is for eight other countries.
Exports to China also experienced a growth of 8.4 per cent, which is $1.407 billion in FY2021 from 1.298 billion in FY2020.
Unfortunately, the trade ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan have declined and faced political and policy turmoils. The exports to Afghanistan have fallen by 5.57 per cent that is just $746.328 million in FY2021. In FY2020, the exports between Afghanistan and Pakistan stood at $790,377 million.
Afghanistan has also been removed as the second biggest trade partner of Pakistan, and Afghanistan replaced India as the most important trade partner.
Trade ties between Pakistan and India are also topsy turvy. The government has suspended trade with India. Earlier, the Economic Corridor Committee (ECC) approved the import of cotton and yarn from India, but then the decision was reversed for political reasons.
The exports to Iran jumped 374 per cent to $0.261m in 9MFY21 from $0.055m in 9MFY20. Most of the trade with Tehran is carried out through informal channels in border areas of Balochistan.
Exports to Bangladesh decreased by 13.56 per cent that is $438.418m in FY2021. Islamabad has recently reached out to Dhaka to revive talks to facilitate trade between the two countries.
Similarly, exports to Sri Lanka dipped by 24.2 per cent to $185.883m from $245.131m in the previous year.
During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Sri Lanka, both countries agreed to exploit the available potential of bilateral trade.
Exports to Nepal dropped by 82.6 per cent to $3.502m from the previous year while those to the Maldives dipped by 28.96 per cent to $4.044m from $5.693m.
Exports to Bhutan were recorded at $0.043m as compared to $0.094m over the last year. In March, no exports proceeds were sent to the Maldives.
On the other hand, the country’s trade deficit with the region narrowed as imports from these countries also dipped.