KARACHI: In the midst of strained bilateral relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, trade between the two countries has been suffering, but has remained largely skewed in India’s favor in the early half of 2019-20.
The latest data released by Pakistan’s State Bank shows that the amount of bilateral trade in the first half of this fiscal year plummeted.
Pakistan’s exports to India over the period amounted to $16.8 million, down from $213 million in the first half of 2018-19.
Meanwhile, India’s imports also fell to $286.6 m in the same period compared with $865 m. Consquently, Pakistan’s trade deficit with its eastern neighbour stood at $269.8 million.
Imports from China — the largest trading partner of the country — fell in July-December to $4.8 billion compared to $5 billion in the same period last year. Exports however rose slightly to $936 million, up from $889 million at 1HFY19.
This signified a $864bn negative trade deficit with China.
There was some change with the second-largest partner, the United Arab Emirates, as exports to the Gulf country rose from $638 m to $827 m in 1HFY20. This was motivated by a significant decrease in imports to $3.6 billion, down from $5 billion.
Pakistan has succeeded in drastically reducing the current account deficit mainly by cutting the bill on imports, which is also reflected in the two cases mentioned above.
Exports to Afghanistan dropped from $534 million to $543 million in 1HFY20, while imports fell to $77.7 million, compared to $85 million in the same time last year.
On the other hand, in July-December, imports from Sri Lanka increased from $26.5 m to $35.9 m, while exports to the island state fell to $155 m versus $162 m in the corresponding half of 2018–19.
For Bangladesh, its imports and exports dropped from $32 m in the six-month period as the former edged down to $24 m, while the latter rose to $369 m, compared to $378 m in the same half of the previous year.
Read More: Powerful countries remain silent on HR violations in Kashmir because of trade interests: PM Imran
Despite efforts and opportunities, exports could not achieve the desired growth as merchandise exports only inched from $11.862bn to $12.391bn, $529 m.
Likewise, service exports rose in the first half of this fiscal year by just $158 million to $2,738 million.
Imports of products, by comparison, have been cut by a whopping $5.8 billion to $22.2 billion, while those services have been cut by $224 million to $4.533 billion over the timeframe.