Pakistan faces trade deficit of $11.751bn

08.02.2017

The country is faced with a trade deficit of $11.751 billion during the current financial year (2016-17) while export of value-added items has decreased by 15.9 percent during the tenure of the present government (since 2013-14).

These figures were placed before the National Assembly on Monday during the Question Hour.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan told the House that exports of the country stood at $8.18 billion and imports at $19.94 billion (July to November 2016-17), resulting in a cumulative trade deficit of $11.75 billion approximately.

The export of value-added items has decreased by 15.9 percent since the year 2013-14, he said. The value-added items had 73.22 percent share in total exports of the country during the last financial year and their share in global export flows was 0.107 percent.

To another question, the minister, however, claimed the countrys exports to European countries during the last 31 months after getting the GSP-Plus status registered a phenomenal increase of 37 percent, amounting to an increase of 1.7 billion euros per annum.

The minister also informed the House that the GSP-Plus status awarded to Pakistan will continue till January 31, 2023; therefore there is a need to diversify the exports to the European countries.

He urged the businessmen and exporters to identify the possible exports opportunities in Eastern Europe, besides working on diversification of the export items.

Giving reasons for a decrease in the exports in terms of foreign exchange, he said that certain items like knitwear registered an increase of 15 percent in quantity in 2015-16 as compared to the same period last year, but in terms of price it registered a decrease due to crisis in the global market.

He said the prices of certain commodities being exported from Pakistan have decreased significantly in the international market due to numerous factors; therefore, it is a challenge for the government to increase the exports revenue.

The minister informed the House that foreign investment in industrial sector also registered a decrease in the country in the previous years due to energy shortages and terrorism, but the situation is improving fast now.

Knitwear, bed-wear, towel and readymade garments remained the most sellable value-added products in the European market, the House was informed.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada informed the House that Pakistan Sports Board is faced with fund shortage due to absence of international cricket in the country.

He said that his ministry is trying its best to revive the regional and national sports in the country with the help of provincial governments.


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