EXPORTS: OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR 2000
Pakistan exports $4.1 during first half of the fiscal
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jan 17 - 23, 2000
The $9.2 billion export target set by the government for the current fiscal seems within the reach due to accelerated efforts by the new economic managers coupled with the positive export indicators during the first half of the year.
Although the private sector has always been opposing the involvement of the public sector in external trade, yet the Trading Corporation of Pakistan has produced some good results by resuming rice export to Iran. Iran had suspended rice import from Pakistan due to some mishandling by some exporters from the private sector, sources said.
The textile sector which constitutes over 65 per cent share of the total exports of the country retained its position by fetching $2.68 billion despite all odds and evens during the first half of the current financial year.
Pakistan's exports during the first half of the current fiscal 1999-2000 amounted at $4.1 billion which is 7.42 per cent higher of the export earnings during the same period of the previous financial year.
The textile sector's contribution in the total exports comes to 65.40 per cent during the first six months. Out of the total textile exports 227,869 tonnes, the cotton yarn was exported sharing18.19 per cent, knit wear shared 9.67 per cent, bedwear 16,69 per cent, readymade garments 10.21 per cent, tarpaulin and canvas goods 13.96 per cent, tule, lace embroidery etc 106.29 per cent, synthetic textile fabrics 0.49 per cent and other textile made ups excluding towels and bedwear 18.72 per cent. The cotton fabrics which earned $548 million during first 6 months remained on top of the list.
Out of the total list of exportable items, towels, cotton bags and waste material of textile fabrics were the only items whose exports declined during the said period. Although other exports items such as carpets, sports goods, surgical instruments, cutlery etc have shown positive trend in exports yet leather and leather goods performed well by earning $184.4 million during the period.
Pakistan poised to have over 10 million bales of cotton due to bumper cotton crop this year. Out of the current crop country has exported around 12,046 tonnes of raw cotton while exports contracts of 372,420 bales are in hand. Due to persisting glut in the international market, the prospects of gains through cotton exports are almost non-existent, the textile industry pleads.
Textile industry feels that the local demand for cotton would be around 9.2 million bales during the current year. They pleaded that due to higher prices of polyster and increase in capacity utilization by the mills there are bright prospects for increased consumption of cotton within the country hence the export of raw cotton should be discouraged on the part of the government.
On the instructions of the new team of the economic managers, the Export Development Board (EDP) has approved financing of a number of infrastructure projects to support and promote exports of textiles goods, leather and leather products and precious and semi precious stones from Pakistan.
The Board has given a green signal for expansion in Towels Institute and funding for the Textile Institute, Textile Engineering , Readymade Garments Training Institute and Carpet Institute.
The Sugar industry had earlier estimated that it has an export surplus of around 200,000 tonnes of sugar for the current fiscal and thus had sought permission to export. The government on its part is however still taking stock of the production of sugar during the year to evaluate the exact size of surplus to be allowed for exports. Since the economy needs a respite through export earnings, the permission to export is most likely to be announced shortly, sources said.
Rice is yet another agriculture commodity which contributes $500-600 million a year to Pakistan's total exports. Out of the total rice production the country has an export surplus of 1.5 million tonnes of rice. Although the Basmati rice of Pakistan are known the world over due to its aroma and exotic taste, Pakistan is unable to cash on this variety due to poor marketing and comparatively low grading and polishing which is badly needed for value added. Beside private sector, Trading Corporation of Pakistan has also joined in the business and have signed contracts for export of 15,000 tonnes of rice to Iran this year. According to reports Iran was avoiding import of rice from Pakistan due to some misunderstanding caused delayed shipments by some private sector exporters to that country. Iran is a big rice buyer and imports around 1.2 million tonnes of rice per annum. Beside Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle Eastern countries and Europe are the major rice buyers in the world market.
The government has decided to offer "export credit" to encourage software exports from Pakistan. Current Pakistan's exports in this sector is negligible which is estimated $25-30 million per annum as against an export target of $5 billion for the current year set by neighbouring India.