Feb 14 - 20, 20

Despite stiff competitive environment and host of issues posed to the country's exporters, Pakistan's exports in the month of January 2011 have crossed US$2.32 billion, and broken the previous month export record.

"This is an all time record in the history of Pakistan," a statement of the Ministry of Commerce said. Exports witnessed an increase of 38 per cent over the corresponding month of January 2010, the statement said.

The Federal Minister for Commerce has congratulated the exporters and business community of the country on this landmark achievement. He has said that with this pace, the export target would easily be achieved.

In December 2010 too, Pakistan's exports exceeded $2.12 billion mark, depicting an increase of 35 per cent over the corresponding month of last year, i.e. December 2009.

Textile exports from Pakistan for July-December (2010) was over $6.284 billion against the exports of $4.995 billion for the same period of previous year (2009-10). The textile exports for December 2010 showed a month on month increase of 15.47 per cent at $1.174 billion and a YoY increase of about 42.65 per cent at $823.583 million.

Cotton cloth exports recorded an impressive 30.63 per cent increase while raw cotton grew 13.91 per cent (other than cotton yarn), knitwear 24.07 per cent, towels 7.23 per cent and readymade garments 34.99 per cent. Bed wear exports rose 16.01 per cent, art, silk and synthetic textile 69.68 per cent and made up articles 21.48 per cent. Exports of other textile products surged 47.73 per cent Country's overall exports surpassed $2.12 billion mark, a surge of 35 per cent which is a record in Pakistan's 63-year history.

The government has decided to declare 2010-11 as 'Export Year' after exports witnessed a 20 per cent growth during the first six months. In December 2010, Pakistan's exports exceeded $2.12 billion mark, depicting an increase of 35 per cent over the corresponding month of last year, i.e. December 2009.

On the other hand, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) is optimistic to export 4 million tonnes of rice in fiscal year 2010/11. REAP's export target tops previous trader estimates by almost a million tonnes. The government in September estimated losses of up to two million tonnes from the August floods. Before the floods, the food ministry expected 6.1 million tonnes for the 2010/11 crop. Pakistan had a bumper crop of 6.7 million tonnes of milled rice in 2009/10 and exported about 4.5 million tonnes. Pakistan retained up to 800,000 tonnes from the 2009/10 crop, traders said. The country's domestic consumption of milled rice is about 2.3 million tonnes.

As per figures of the Federal Bureau of Statistics, rice exports in July-October 2010 rose 17.26 per cent to 1.1 million tonnes, compared with 940,838 tonnes in the same period last year. In the July-Oct period in 2010/11, exports of basmati rice stood at 304,141 tonnes, almost the same as last year. Other varieties totaled 799,052 tonnes for the same period, compared with 636,773 tonnes. Rice is Pakistan's third largest crop after wheat and cotton and contributes about 1.6 per cent to the country's gross domestic product.

Official sources told this scribe that the new export strategy is based on a two-pronged approach: Products/Services and Markets. They said: "Our focus is achieving value-addition through investment, R&D, Technology and Skill Development." We are assisting SME's to cross over the threshold, prioritizing and providing opportunities for better use of resources, creating opportunities for increased market share through incoming/outgoing delegations focusing on bringing buyers to Pakistan, broadening the present narrow export base, moving on thirteen (13) new product development projects, i.e. Marble, Mango, Agro Food, Dates, Carpets, Leather, Gem & Jewellery, etc. There is slow growth in demand in traditional markets of US & EU. Hence, TDAP zeroes in on Russia, China, India, and in Africa to increase exports, they pointed out.