Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports

Gwadar roadside restaurant

Gwadar roadside restaurant

Sharing borders with economic powerhouses China and India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shipped US$21.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -12.9% drop since 2013 but a 6.5% gain from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Pakistan’s exported goods plus services represent 8.3% of total Pakistani economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 37.2% of Pakistan’s exports were delivered to importers in Asia while 35.5% arrived in Europe. Smaller percentages went to North America at 17.8%, Africa at 6.6% and, at 1.4%, to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

Given Pakistan’s population of 204.9 million people, its total $21.9 billion in 2017 exports translates to an estimated $110 for every resident in that country.

Pakistan’s unemployment rate was an estimated 6% as of May 2018, according to Trading Economics.

Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Pakistani global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Pakistan.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Pakistan’s most valuable exported products are textiles including bed linens, table linens, bathroom and kitchen linens, followed by unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits, rice, cotton yarn, woven fabrics then leather clothing and accessories.

  1. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$4 billion (18.1% of total exports)
  2. Cotton: $3.5 billion (16%)
  3. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $2.5 billion (11.5%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.5 billion (11.3%)
  5. Cereals: $1.8 billion (8%)
  6. Leather/animal gut articles: $632 million (2.9%)
  7. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $511.9 million (2.3%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $410.6 million (1.9%)
  9. Fish: $406.9 million (1.9%)
  10. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $385.5 million (1.8%)

Pakistan’s top 10 exports accounted for about three-quarters (75.6%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Pakistani sugar and sugar confectionery was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 104.1% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving international sales was fish which rose by 21%.

Pakistan’s exported optical, technical and medical apparatus posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 12.7%.

Two top product categories declined, namely salt, sulphur, stone and cement (down -14%) and leather or animal gut articles (down -2%).


The following types of Pakistani product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$3.6 billion (Up by 4.4% since 2016)
  2. Cotton: $2.5 billion (Down by -9.2%)
  3. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $2.5 billion (Up by 7%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.4 billion (Up by 9.5%)
  5. Cereals: $1.7 billion (Up by 5.7%)
  6. Leather/animal gut articles: $593 million (Down by -3.6%)
  7. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $466.7 million (Up by 121.7%)
  8. Fish: $384.4 million (Up by 20.4%)
  9. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $371.2 million (Up by 53.4%)
  10. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $278.4 million (Down by -4.6%)

Pakistan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of clothing-related products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Pakistan’s strong competitive advantages under various clothing-related categories.


Overall Pakistan incurred a -$35.6 billion trade deficit during 2017, up by 34.4% from -$26.5 billion one year earlier.

Below are exports from Pakistan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Pakistan’s goods trail Pakistani importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$13.5 billion (Up by 43.5% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$6.7 billion (Up by 17.7%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.7 billion (Up by 7.5%)
  4. Iron, steel: -$3.4 billion (Up by 24.5%)
  5. Vehicles: -$2.6 billion (Up by 27.2%)
  6. Organic chemicals: -$2.4 billion (Up by 22%)
  7. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$2.3 billion (Up by 24.2%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: -$2 billion (Up by 21.1%)
  9. Oil seeds: -$1.3 billion (Up by 35.1%)
  10. Vegetables: -$808.1 million (Up by 6.4%)

Pakistan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related goods led by refined petroleum oils, crude oil, petroleum gases then coal.


Pakistani Export Companies

Two Pakistani corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. They are:

Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following are examples of world-class Pakistani companies:

  • Oil & Gas Development (petroleum operations)
  • Pakistan State Oil (petroleum operations)

Wikipedia also lists businesses headquartered in Pakistan that export their products. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Dalda (vegetable oil)
  • Engro Corporation (fertilizers, petrochemicals)
  • Ghani Automobile Industries (motorcycles)
  • Ittefaq Group (steel)
  • Ittehad Chemicals Limited (chemicals)
  • Khaadi (hand-woven clothing)
  • Madina Sugar Mills (PVT) Limited (sugar)
  • Master Motors (truck manufacturer)
  • Murree Brewery (beverages)
  • Servis Tyres (tire maker)

Pakistan’s capital city is Islamabad.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Highest Value Pakistani Export Products, Pakistan’s Top Trading Partners and Pakistan’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 16, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 16, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 16, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 16, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 16, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Pakistan. Accessed on May 16, 2018

Wikipedia, Pakistan. Accessed on May 16, 2018