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‘Pakistan’s exports on the decline’

Rasheed Khalid
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023

Islamabad:Lowering exports emerged as a significant contributor to Pakistan's persistent trade deficit, posing a multifaceted challenge that plagued the country since the early 2000s, said Dr Nadeem-ul-Haque, vice-chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).

Dr Haque was addressing here a group of journalists. The PIDE chief said that in the last two decades, the contribution of exports to our GDP declined from 16% to 10%. To address the ongoing economic crisis and pave the way for a more resilient future, it is imperative that we strategise rigorously to identify potential markets that align with our exportable products.

He said that to overcome the challenges posed by our current economic crisis, we must collaborate across sectors – government, exporters, and economists – to identify potential markets and align them with our export capabilities. A swift response is crucial in building a thriving economic environment, he concluded. Dr Durre Nayab, the Pro-VC, talking to the mediapersons said that Pakistan's share in global trade dwindled from 0.15% in 2005 to a mere 0.12% in 2021. This decline in export competitiveness places us at a disadvantage, especially when compared to economies like Bangladesh, India and Vietnam which managed to expand their export capacities.

She pointed to historical examples of countries like South Korea which transformed from an agrarian economy to a tech-driven powerhouse. Learning from these success stories, we understand that enhancing export competitiveness, improving productivity and fostering innovation are central to breaking the cycle of stagnation. She said we have witnessed a decline in our export share on the global stage, a trend that is most concerning when measured against our regional counterparts. The two academics underlined key factors that led to stagnancy in Pakistan's exports, including low productivity of firms, lack of value addition and innovation, complex incentive mechanisms, limited export destinations and inadequate investment in research and development.