ISLAMABAD: The country’s exports posted a growth of 7 percent in the first three quarters (July-March of 2020-21) in comparison with a year before, ie, $18.669 from $17.451 billion.   

However, at the same time, imports have shown a growth of 13 percent/$39.210 billion during first nine months of current fiscal year as compared to $34.817 billion in the same period last fiscal year.  

Trade deficit has increased by 18 percent to $20.541 billion during July-March 2020-21 as compared to $17.366 billion during the same period of 2019-20.  

The provisional data of foreign trade also depicted 13.4 percent growth in March 2021 to $ 2.345 billion (31 days) as compared $ 2.068 billion in February (28 days).   

Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, who was jubilant at the increase in exports, appeared visibly upset after the Cabinet turned down the ECC decision to allow import of yarn and sugar from India.  

Razak Dawood, who is also a top businessman of the country, argues that business and political issues between India and Pakistan should be treated separately.     

The Commerce Ministry says that this is also the first time since 2011 that exports have crossed the $ 2 billion mark for six consecutive months but acknowledges that export growth of 29.3% in March 2021 over March 2020 should not be considered as it is misleading since there was a lockdown last year.  

The Commerce Ministry further contends that increase in imports was mainly due to increased imports of petroleum, wheat, soy bean, machinery, raw material, chemicals, mobiles, fertilizers, tyres, antibiotics and vaccines in March 2021.—MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN