Exports fall 13pc to $15.6bn


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
ISLAMABAD: Merchandise exports declined by 12.92 per cent to $15.606 billion in the first nine months (July-March) of 2015-16 from $17.921bn in the same period last year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data showed on Tuesday.
In rupee term, exports dipped 10.37pc during the period.

On a year-on-year basis, the decline was 9.55pc in March 2016 (7pc fall in rupee term). Government has recently announced the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2016-18 with a target to increase the countrys exports to $34bn by the year 2018.

An official of the commerce ministry told Dawn that the new STPF, which is yet to be implemented despite lapse of eight months, would hardly kick-up exports, as the incentives announced in the policy would barely facilitate exporters.
The official further said that the government has taken several anti-export steps like imposing regulatory duties.
Finance ministry focus is only on revenue generation even at the cost of exports fall, the official said.Tariff and trade facilitation was the domain of commerce ministry but it has been exercised by the finance ministry and federal board of revenue, the official explained.

Since July 2015, the countrys exports have been declining despite preferential GSP+ status to 28-nation European Union.
The official in the ministry said international buyers were reluctant to place orders with Pakistani exporters because of political uncertainty.

Meanwhile, imports also fell 4.22pc to $32.515bn during July-March 2015-16 from $33.948bn in the same period last year. In March 2016, imports grew by 3.78pc year-on-year.

Thus, the trade deficit in July-March 2015-16 expanded by 5.50pc to $16.909bn from $16.027bn a year ago.
Trade deficit increased 20pc in March 2016, given the growth in imports and a drop in exports.

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