Pakistan sees closer trade relations with China

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The trade volume between Pakistan and China has shown an upward trajectory over the years, jumping from 4.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2007 to 16.4 billion dollars in 2018.

“China is a huge consumer market with increasing buying power, and there is a greater demand of all kinds of Pakistani commodities in China,” said a Pakistani economist.

by Raheela Nazir


ISLAMABAD, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — With Pakistan witnessing an increase in exports to China, experts and officials here believe that Pakistan should spare no efforts to further strengthen the Pakistan-China trade relations.

The country’s exports to China increased by 34 percent to 2.33 billion U.S. dollars during the fiscal year 2020-2021 (July 1-June 30), as compared to 1.74 billion U.S. dollars in the previous fiscal year, Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment, wrote in his Twitter account.

Leather, textiles, seafood and agricultural products were among the major products exported to China during the period, government officials said.

The Pakistan-China trade volume has shown an upward trajectory over the years. According to official figures from the Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan, in the year 2018 the trade volume between the two countries was 16.4 billion U.S. dollars, seeing a jump from 4.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

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Speaking with Xinhua, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production and Board of Investment Aliya Hamza Malik said that the recent upward trend in exports to China is encouraging.

“The traditional friendly relations between Pakistan and China have become more pragmatic and productive with time,” Malik said, adding that enhanced economic and trade cooperation has further consolidated the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

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China is the second-largest export destination for Pakistan and the government has been making all-out efforts to further boost exports to China by promoting industrialization in the country, providing special subsidies to the business community and working closely with the Chinese government and enterprises to get know-how about the Chinese market requirements, she said.

On reasons behind the recent increase in exports to China, Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, director of the China Study Center at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, said that there are multiple factors that have contributed to the remarkable rise.

A new awareness is seen among the Pakistani exporters, who previously prefered the European, U.S. and other markets. These Pakistani businessmen, with the help from the government, started to see the Chinese market opportunities, Ramay told Xinhua.

In addition, the implementation of the second phase of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China last year has paved the way for the substantial and sustained growth of the bilateral trade, as Pakistani traders are now allowed to export 313 new products to the Chinese market on zero duty.

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Under the previously-signed first phase of the pact, the country had been already enjoying zero duties on exports of over 700 products to China.

Besides, a number of Chinese companies have been cooperating with local enterprises to enhance their production capacity, quality and exports of Pakistani commodities by providing modern technology and equipment, Ramay said.

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He noted that special economic zones being established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will promote industrialization in the country and boost exports to not only China but other countries as well to help Pakistan to earn valuable foreign exchange.

Pakistani manufacturers need to understand the Chinese market and should focus on improving the quality and standard of their products to be exported to China to further increase exports, Talat Anwar, a renowned economist and former advisor on macroeconomic policy at the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, told Xinhua.

Pakistan also needs to make more presence in Chinese market by extensively advertising its characteristic products and actively participating in expos and events in China, he said, adding that in this regard, the government of Pakistan has been making efforts in helping local enterprises in marketing in various cities of China to promote Pakistani products and goods.

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“China is a huge consumer market with increasing buying power, and there is a greater demand of all kinds of Pakistani commodities in China … Local exporters should vigorously tap the Chinese market by producing high-quality products and establishing good brands,” Talat said.

Humayun Iqbal Shami, chairman of the Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Economic Forum, said, “More technical and financial resources need to be devoted to chalking out strategies and upgrading major industries of Pakistan including textile, leather, agriculture, livestock and dairy,” Shami told Xinhua.

Pakistan not only needs to upgrade existing export-oriented sectors of the country, but also has to move towards new industries to diversify its export products, he said.

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