Exports increase 15% in four months: Commerce minister

ISLAMABAD (November 06 2002) : Pakistan's exports have increased by 15 percent during the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Commerce Minister Razak Dawood said that exports fetched $ 3.478 billion in the four months as compared to $ 3.024 billion during the same period last fiscal, showing an increase of $ 443.8 million or 15 percent. The growth in exports was 5.5 percent higher than the target set for this period.

Razak said that imports increased by 13.36 percent to $ 3.789 billion from $ 3.342 billion during the same period of last financial year.

Trade deficit during this period was $ 310.6 million against $ 317.8 million lastly, showing a reduction of 2.26 percent, Razak maintained.

The exports in October increased by 17.2 percent to $ 891 million as compared to $ 759.9 million during the same month of last year, whereas imports increased by 20.6 percent to $ 1 billion against $ 838 million, he continued.

“I am quite confident that $ 11.4 billion export target will be achieved as November and December are good months for exports,” Razak hoped.

He said restructuring of textile sector through investment to the tune of $ 1 billion, clean cotton campaign, value addition and Engineering Vision-2010 were instrumental in substantial increase in exports.

Razak said value-added exports were moving on very good pace and orders were coming but pressure has been witnessed on prices, hoping that 20 to 25 percent increase in volume would be registered during the remaining period.

Replying to a question, he said that his talks with US Under Secretary of Economic Affairs Alan Larson on Wednesday would be the follow-up of Working Group established in December last during the visit of President Musharraf.

“We are broadening the area of discussions, including market access, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and greater market access,” he said, adding that Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and the United States would be finalised after two years.

Answering a question, he said that agreement between the Association of South East Asian Nations and China would not hurt Pakistan's exports, adding: “we have good trade relations with most of the countries”. Regarding Free Trade Agreement with Sri Lanka, Razak said that both countries were near to the pact, hoping that it would be signed by the next government.

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