Pakistan flag Pakistan: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Pakistan

Foreign Trade in Figures

Despite economic and political difficulties, Pakistan has taken steps to liberalize its trade and investment framework as part of commitments made with the WTO, IMF, and the World Bank. Nevertheless, the share of foreign trade in Pakistan's GDP continues to be low, at 33% (World Bank, latest data available). Textile products account by far for the largest share of exports (around 60%, mostly comprising linen, clothing, and cotton, making the country the 7th textile exporter in the world), followed by rice (3.32 million tons between July 2023-January 2024). In regards to imports, the largest items are petroleum products, palm oil, telephones, and coal (Comtrade).

The United States is the top destination for Pakistani exports (20.1%, mainly textile), ahead of China (8.2%), the United Kingdom (6.5%), the Netherlands (5.8%), and Germany (5.7%). Conversely, China is by far the largest supplier of goods to Pakistan (23%), followed by the United Arab Emirates (11.2%), Saudi Arabia (7.2%), Indonesia (7%), Qatar (5.8%), and the United States (4.4% - data Comtrade).

Pakistan's trade structure has been structurally in deficit and has been worsening in recent years: in 2022, imports of goods stood at USD 71 billion (-1.9% year-on-year), while exports grew 9.2%, totaling USD 30.9 billion. Concerning the trade of services, imports reached USD 10.5 billion, whereas exports amounted to USD 7.3 billion. For the same year, the World Bank estimated the country’s trade deficit at 12% of GDP (from 8.9% one year earlier). According to preliminary figures from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the cumulative trade deficit for the first five months of the fiscal year 2023-24 (July-November) amounted to USD 9.45 billion, reflecting a 17.01% decrease in dollar terms compared to the same period the previous year. During the same period, cumulative exports totaled USD 12.17 billion, indicating a 1.9% increase, while cumulative imports totaled USD 21.6 billion (-17%).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 60,07850,33245,83772,48971,072
Exports of Goods (million USD) 23,42523,32921,97928,31930,936
Imports of Services (million USD) 11,67010,2957,98510,58710,508
Exports of Services (million USD) 5,9335,8705,3926,5447,358

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 27.628.926.727.132.3
Trade Balance (million USD) -31,911-22,881-22,172-36,859-34,266
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -37,648-27,306-24,765-40,902-37,416
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 15.77.6-5.114.515.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 10.013.21.56.58.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 19.019.517.418.021.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 8.69.49.39.110.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -7.820.88.76.26.0
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -29.326.26.56.06.2

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Pakistan does not belong to any Customs Union.

It is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Pakistan has signed Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with nearly 40 countries. It has also signed ‘Double Taxation Agreements’ with nearly 50 countries.

The country has signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).

For more details, visit:

Pakistani Government

Pakistani state

Federal Board of Revenue

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United States 20.1%
China 8.2%
United Kingdom 6.5%
Netherlands 5.8%
Germany 5.7%
See More Countries 53.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 23.0%
United Arab Emirates 11.2%
Saudi Arabia 7.2%
Indonesia 7.0%
Qatar 5.8%
See More Countries 45.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

30.8 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Bedlinen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen...Bedlinen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen of all types of textile materials (excl. floorcloths, polishing cloths, dishcloths and dusters) 14.0%
Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers,...Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (excl. knitted or crocheted, wind-jackets and similar articles, separate waistcoats, tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear) 10.2%
RiceRice 7.5%
Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers,...Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (excl. wind-jackets and similar articles, separate waistcoats, tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear) 3.2%
Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and...Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles, knitted or crocheted (excl. wadded waistcoats) 3.1%
See More Products 62.0%
70.2 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 15.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 8.5%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 7.4%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined...Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 5.4%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 3.1%
See More Products 60.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

9.1 bn USD of services exported in 2022
38.03%
18.69%
12.28%
11.07%
9.51%
8.12%
0.95%
0.57%
0.47%
0.16%
0.14%
10.6 bn USD of services imported in 2022
56.57%
14.46%
12.78%
5.54%
3.87%
2.59%
2.02%
1.07%
1.05%
0.05%
0.02%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: May 2024