Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has cherished the encouraging export numbers for July 2020, which depicted a growth of 5.8%.
He was chairing an internal strategy meeting at the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday to review the recent trade statistics and draw up plans for lifting exports further. Data for July 2020 showed export growth of 5.8% in dollar terms compared to July 2019.
According to a statement, the growth came following contraction in exports in the past four months, since March 2020, which recorded a drop of 8% compared to the same period of previous year.
“The numbers plunged further in April 2020 to 54%, however, May recorded some improvement with a 35% fall in exports,” it said. “Conditions improved further in June with only 6% decrease in exports over the same month of last year.”
Addressing the meeting, Dawood appreciated exporters and government departments for their coordinated efforts during the current testing times amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This achievement is particularly noteworthy owing to the fact that a decline was being observed until June and a turnaround of around 12 percentage points has been achieved in just one month,” he said.
The adviser underlined that the Ministry of Commerce would evaluate its geographical diversification strategy in order to re-align focus towards new opportunities.
He directed ministry officers to extend all kind of necessary support to exporters in order to achieve targets not only in terms of numbers but also with regard to the intended policy outcomes.
During the meeting, strategies for product and geographical diversification were also reviewed in the context of latest trade statistics.
One of the major areas which depicted significant progress was food processing where a growth of over 300% was registered in July 2020, the meeting noted. A similar growth was witnessed in textile made-ups and clothing accessories. In addition to those, fish and fish products recorded a healthy export growth of 50% while home textiles, whose exports had declined in previous months, were now back up with a 24% growth.
However, a major decline was witnessed in rice and cement exports, which contracted 24% and 12% respectively in July 2020 compared to the same month of last year.
Exports of raw leather and cotton yarn also dropped, indicating that the government’s policy of pursuing value-added goods export was bearing fruit.
On the import side, a decline of 4.2% in dollar terms was recorded in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
Owing to the increase in exports and fall in imports, a 14.7% improvement in trade balance was witnessed in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
However, not much progress was made in achieving geographical diversification in July 2020 as exports still seemed to be heavily dependent on traditional markets.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2020.