Pakistan’s exports to China rose 219% in the last five years from 2007-08 to 2011-12, far higher than the 43% increase in imports, says Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, indicating a reduction in trade deficit with Beijing.
In a written reply to a question from Muhammad Talha Mehmood in the Senate on Wednesday, Fahim stressed that shipments to China had accelerated after the free trade agreement between the two countries came into force in 2009.
Giving a breakdown of export figures for the past five years, he said Pakistan exported goods worth $684.8 million to China in 2007-08, $701 million in 2008-09, $1.154 billion in 2009-10, $1.634 billion in 2010-11 and $2.184 billion in 2011-12.
In an effort to boost to bilateral trade, Fahim said Beijing had been asked to facilitate Pakistan’s participation in exhibition and trade fairs in China. In response, China is offering space in all exhibitions without any fee and rent.
In 2011-12, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) took part in six major trade fairs in China to display the products of Pakistan and highlight the potential of its manufacturers.
Responding to another question, Fahim said the country had signed trade agreements with Indonesia, Afghanistan, Developing Eight (D-8) countries and Saarc members in the last four years.
A preferential trade agreement (PTA) was inked with Indonesia in February 2012 and the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) was signed in October 2010.
Earlier, Pakistan signed PTA with D-8 countries in May 2006, which was ratified in February last year. Saarc Agreement on Trade in Services was reached in April 2010.
In reply to a question from Senator Sughra Imam, Fahim said goods worth Rs480.128 billion had been imported from India in the last four years (2008-09 to 2011-12). In the same period, Pakistan exported Rs99.738 billion worth of items to India.
According to breakdown, exports to India were worth Rs24.350 billion in financial year 2008-09 against imports of Rs93.471 billion. In 2009-10, exports were Rs22.489 billion and imports Rs102.872 billion, in 2010-11 exports were Rs22.602 billion and imports Rs149.047 billion and in 2011-12 exports were Rs30.297 billion and imports Rs134.738 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2013.
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