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COVID-19 turbulence to accelerate Pakistan export growth

Global economic pause due to Coronavirus has given other smaller economies a chance to step up. For example, Pakistan with complete textile and apparel supply chain existing in the country can profit from the slowdown in trade flow between China and the US and the EU in textile products as it can capture some of the fashion market shares.

From 2013 and 2018, around $1.1 billion was added to the exports of articles of apparel and clothing to the EU. Furthermore, exports of made-up textile articles improved to $650 million between 2013 and 2018 due to the GSP Plus preferences.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data shows, exports boomed 13.82 per cent year-on-year in February 2020. Amidst a global slowdown in trade, exports from Pakistan have gained by 3.65 per cen in the current FY. And the country’s exports to the EU increased from $6.3 billion in 2013 to $8 billion in 2018. This shows that the unilateral trade incentives provided by the European Union to Pakistan in the form of GSP Plus status did help boost export sales to the region and limit what otherwise could have been a complete decay of the export sector between 2013 and 2018.

The trade linkages established between Pakistani exporters and their clients can help increase exports and tap newer markets as supply chains are threatened due to the spread of the pandemic. Pakistan should continue with its policies to boost total exports. Although the growth in global trade is likely to slow down this year, Pakistan must contemplate in developing its export sector to take advantage of opportunities as a result of challenges reported by the large manufacturing powerhouses.