Pakistan’s exports went down by over 14 per cent during first half (July to December) of ongoing financial year due to internal as well external issues

Exports tumbled to $10.3 billion during July-December of FY2016 from $12.06 billion of the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the latest data issued by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Tuesday.

The government has yet to announce the much-delayed strategic trade policy framework to enhance the country’s decreasing exports. The STPF was supposed to be implemented from July last year, as the previous policy expired on June 30, 2015. The Ministry of Commerce claimed that STPF is ready but it would be announced after getting approval from the Prime Minister. Delay in trade policy is one of the reasons for declining exports.

However, the government termed the international market responsible for decline in country’s exports. “The exports remained muted due to sluggish growth in developed countries and slower growth in China,” said an official document of the Ministry of Finance. On the other hand, exports are also on the decline due to internal issues like energy crisis as well as high tariffs, outdated technology, lack of standardization and compliances.

The exports had not enhanced even after the government imposed 10 percent regulatory duty on imports of cotton yarn, grey and processed fabric. The interest rate on the Export Refinancing Facility was cut by 1pc to 3.5pc and interest rate of the Long Term Finance Facility from 6pc to 5pc.

Meanwhile, imports decreased by 7.86 percent to $22.25 billion in July-December 2015-2016 from $24.15 billion of the same period last year. Pakistan’s trade deficit, gap between exports and imports, narrowed to $11.9 billion during five months of the current financial year from $12.09 billion of the corresponding period of previous year with reduction of 1.35 percent.

According to the PBS data, exports decreased by 16.8 percent in the month of December 2015, as country exported goods worth $1.79 billion as against $2.15 billion of December 2014. However, the imports went up by 0.23 percent to $3.843 billion in December 2015 from $3.834 billion of December 2015. Therefore, trade imbalance was registered at $2.06 billion in December 2015 as against $1.69 billion of the December last year, showing an increase of 21.96 percent.