Overall performance of the external trade indicates that the export target of $12.1 billion is well within reach
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
May 10 - 16, 2004
Pakistan's external trade is usually dominated by the cotton and textiles which contributes over 68 percent of the total exports of the country. In the current financial year which is about to come to its age, again the leading role in external trade played by the textile sector which is likely to set new export record this year. Similarly, the textile machinery and accessories were dominant over major imports of the country. The gap between import and exports is however likely to narrowed down this year as the textile exports have increased its share to the total export earnings of the country. According to an assessment the textile exports are likely to be in the region of $10 billion.
The upward trend in import of machinery was a good sign for strengthening industrial base of the country. There has been a sharp increase in investment in Pakistan's largest textile industry. The large scale manufacturing sector especially the textile is expected to grow by 8-9 percent in the next two years.
There was a marked reduction in the import of POL products because of increasing role of the indigenous natural gas reducing the import bill by 27 percent during the current year.
Overall performance of the external trade indicates that the export target of $12.1 billion is well within reach while the imports have also gone up $12 billion due large scale revamping, expansion and modernization of the textile industry during the year. According to analysts, Pakistan's economy is gaining higher rates of growth which will be reflected both in terms of employment and investment over the next couple of years.
Encouraged by the excellent performance of the export sector, the export target for 2004-05 would be pushed upward since environment in the international market was in Pakistan's favor.
The government was giving all out support to exporters to enable them to catch maximum share in the international market to increase exports substantially.
In order to evolve more practicable trade policy for next financial year, medium to long term vision is being envisaged for the upcoming trade policy.
Humayun Akhtar Khan, the federal commerce minister, stressed the need to provide necessary infrastructure to small and medium size enterprises in order to boost the country's exports.
Speaking at the second meeting of the task force on quality and standards, the minister, underlined the need for fully utilizing the services of SME Bank to provide services for the development of SMEs which have to play a leading role in the growth of Pakistan's exports.
He stressed the need for identification of cluster industries and providing necessary infrastructure through SMEDA and SME Bank. The next Trade Policy would focus on standards and quality, for which a five-year program might be chalked out for completion of ISO certificates including ISO 9,000, ISO 14,000, and SA 8,000.
The private sector in collaboration with the public sector is endeavoring to enhance export surplus which is vital for economically survival in the face of challenges to come after implementation of the WTO regime. Though the industrial and agriculture sector are contributing significantly, yet the area of human resource development desires more serious attention of the policy makers. Practically speaking, the large share of cash flow from external resources is contributed by the workers home remittances which hit the mark of $4.2 billion last year and going to contribute more or less the same amount this year. Investment in human resource development pays more than any other area and this is proved in the case of many developed economies in Asia as well as in the West.