In the fiscal year 2017, exports in Pakistan showed a noticeable decline and reached at $21.6 billion. The figure was recorded by State Bank of Pakistan (SPB) in a report that also included exports standing at $21.9 billion in the fiscal year 2015-2016.
The current decline is not as high as the straight $2 billion decline the industry reported between financial year 2014-15 and the financial year 2015-16. What is perplexing, and somewhat negative for the trade balance, is the fact that over the same period, imports increased more than $7.2 billion.
The sector that posted the largest decline was petroleum with export of petroleum going down by a staggering eight percent. Another group classified in the SBP report as ‘other manufactures’ also showed a decline of four percent. A three percent dip in exports of food products and a two percent decline in textile products also came as a warning for policymakers who must come up with a coherent strategy to improve the sector.
The Untapped Market
The year witnessed a decline in exports of cotton and related products, including cotton yarn and raw cotton. However, there was a simultaneous increase in exports of readymade garments, knitwear, and bedding products.
An increase in exports of spices, sugar, fish and other food items also proved to be oxygen for the economy. Sports goods, cutlery, chemical and pharmaceutical products too succeeded in making a spot in the international market.
Different studies have projected that the country has a $13 billion untapped export potential. This mainly hints at apparels – readymade garments, leather and textile products.
The entry of clothing brands has revolutionized the economics of the textile sector. Many clothing brands are successfully selling their products abroad. If the government looks into this industry and chalk out relevant policies for its expansion, the country will be able to stabilize its dwindling exports.