According to official data released by State Bank of Pakistan exports to its nine regional countries declined 5.7 per cent in the nine months of the current fiscal year owing to Covid19.
The country’s exports to countries like Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives only add up to a small amount of $2.788 billion which is just 14.91pc of Pakistan’s total global exports of $18.688bn in 9MFY21.
Pakistan ships the highest number of exports to China, leaving its other neighbors namely India and Bangladesh behind. It also carried out trade with its farther neighbour Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives via sea.
However, the country’s trade deficit with the region also plunged during the period under review as imports from these countries also dipped.
During July-March 2020-21, Pakistan’s exports to China bounced back and showed positive growth. It posted growth of 8.4pc to $1.407bn in 9MFY21 from $1.298bn in 9MFY20. Pakistan witnessed this growth during the post-Covid period.
Around 50.46pc of bulk share of Pakistan’s regional exports is for China, while the remaining eight countries get the rest.
Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan declined 5.57pc to $746.328m in 9MFY21 from $790.377m in 9MFY20 despite it being the second major export destination after the United States a few years back.
However, the imports from Afghanistan showed significant improvement especially in terms of essential kitchen items — tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and fresh and dried fruits.
The country’s exports to India went down to 90.5pc to $2.197m this year from $23.167m in 9MFY20. Exports to India dipped from 90.8pc to $28.644m in whole FY20 from $311.958m over FY19.
Currently, the government has only allowed import of pharmaceutical products from India.
The exports to Iran rose 374pc to $0.261m in 9MFY21 from $0.055m in 9MFY20. Trade with Tehran is usually carried out through informal channels in border areas of Balochistan.
Exports to Bangladesh decreased 13.56pc to $438.418m in 9MFY21 from $574.038m while exports to Sri Lanka dipped by 24.2pc to $185.883m in 9MFY21from $245.131m in the previous year.
Pakistan’s exports to Nepal also dipped by 82.6pc to $3.502m in 9MFY21 from $20.178m the previous year while those to the Maldives dropped by 28.96pc to $4.044m from $5.693m. The export proceeds to Bhutan were $0.043m in 9MFY21 as compared $0.094m over the last year.
No exports proceeds were sent to Maldives in the month of March.