Sharing land borders with economic powerhouses China and India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shipped an estimated US$20.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -6.1% decrease since 2015 and a -12.8% slowdown from 2018 to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 68.3% of products exported from Pakistan were bought by importers in: Canada (18% of the global total), Mexico (15.9%), China (7.2%), Japan (4.5%), United Kingdom (4%), Germany (3.5%), South Korea (3.4%), Netherlands (2.9%), Brazil (2.4%), France (2.3%), Hong Kong (2.2%) and India (2%).
From a continental perspective, 38% of Pakistan’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asia countries while 35.2% were sold to importers in Europe. Pakistan shipped another 17.7% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (6.3%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.5%) then Oceania led by Australia (1.3%).
Given Pakistan’s population of 216.6 million people, its total $20.8 billion in 2019 exports translates to an estimated $100 for every resident in the densely-populated South Asian nation.
Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Pakistani global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Pakistan.
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$4.2 billion (20% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.5 billion (16.7%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3.3 billion (16.1%)
- Cotton: $1.8 billion (8.4%)
- Cereals: $1.2 billion (5.9%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $716.7 million (3.5%)
- Copper: $596.7 million (2.9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $421 million (2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $393.8 million (1.9%)
- Fish: $372.5 million (1.8%)
Pakistan’s top 10 exports accounted for 79.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Copper was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 182.6% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were unknitted and non-crocheted clothing or accessories via a 33.7% gain. Pakistan’s shipments of knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 15.9%.
The leading decliner among Pakistan’s top 10 export categories was cotton thanks to a -50.2% drop year over year.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
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.
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$3.9 billion (Up by 4.5% since 2018)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.3 billion (Up by 28.1%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3 billion (Up by 7%)
- Cereals: $1.1 billion (Down by -49.6%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $631.7 million (Down by -0.3%)
- Copper: $388.5 million (Reversing a -$20.1 million deficit)
- Fish: $371.2 million (Down by -12%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $354.8 million (Down by -20.9%)
- Toys, games: $228.1 million (Up by 55.9%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $211.1 million (Down by -33.6%)
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 -$17.1 billion trade deficit during 2019, down by -53.3% from -$36.6 billion in red ink 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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$4.9 billion (Down by -18% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.5 billion (Up by 7.4%)
- Iron, steel: -$2.3 billion (Down by -37.4%)
- Organic chemicals: -$2 billion (Down by -28.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$1.9 billion (Down by -88.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.5 billion (Down by -31.2%)
- Manmade filaments: -$1.4 billion (Up by 104.2%)
- Vehicles: -$1.1 billion (Down by -55.4%)
- Oil seeds: -$975.5 million (Down by -28.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$793.2 million (Up by 16.2%)
Pakistan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery-related goods notably for computers, liquid pumps, piston engine parts and air conditioners.
Pakistani Export Companies
Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following are examples of world-class Pakistani companies.
- Oil & Gas Development (petroleum operations)
- Pakistan State Oil (petroleum operations)
Wikipedia also lists businesses headquartered in Pakistan that export their products. Selected examples are shown below.
- Dalda (vegetable oil)
- Engro Corporation (fertilizers, petrochemicals)
- Ghani Automobile Industries (motorcycles)
- Ittefaq Group (steel)
- Ittehad Chemicals Limited (chemicals)
- Khaadi (hand-woven clothing)
- Madina Sugar Mills (PVT) Limited (sugar)
- Master Motors (truck manufacturer)
- Murree Brewery (beverages)
- Servis Tyres (tire maker)
Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Export Products in 2019
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Pakistan during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||Pakistan's Export Product||2019 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$1,826,143,000||-16.3%|
|4||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$1,143,149,000||+408.2%|
|5||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$954,882,000||+173.2%|
|6||Woven cotton fabrics||$613,670,000||-2.4%|
|7||Leather clothing, accessories||$605,521,000||-1.8%|
|8||Yarn (85%+ cotton)||$524,192,000||-56.7%|
|9||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$499,914,000||+24.2%|
|10||Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)||$411,353,000||+16.7%|
|11||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$401,788,000||+5.5%|
|12||Woven fabrics (85%+ cotton)||$390,246,000||-59.8%|
|14||Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)||$315,475,000||-45%|
|15||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$309,071,000||+124.6%|
|16||Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns||$300,452,000||-38%|
|18||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$281,553,000||+82.6%|
|20||Processed petroleum oils||$257,752,000||+8.6%|
|21||Gloves, mitts (knit or crochet)||$214,137,000||+31.5%|
|23||Whole fish (frozen)||$170,038,000||-40.9%|
|24||Men's shirts (knit or crochet)||$166,584,000||-67.4%|
|25||Woven fabrics mostly synthetic staple fibers||$159,160,000||-13.9%|
|26||Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)||$145,903,000||+558.9%|
|28||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$133,718,000||-25.3%|
|32||Men's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$109,835,000||+6.2%|
|33||Woven fabrics under 85% synthetic staple fibers||$104,960,000||+69%|
|34||Cases, handbags, wallets||$103,209,000||+177.4%|
|35||Other animal leather||$100,897,000||-36.8%|
|36||Curtains, drapes, blinds||$100,734,000||-6.2%|
|38||Woven fabrics (under 85% cotton)||$94,981,000||-69.4%|
|39||Men's overcoats, capes, cloaks||$92,041,000||+179.4%|
|41||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$84,432,000||-6.2%|
|42||Textile floor coverings including carpets||$80,710,000||+21.2%|
|45||Chromium ores, concentrates||$74,244,000||+6.1%|
|46||Infant clothing (knit or crochet)||$73,865,000||+57%|
|47||Women's coats, jackets (knit or crochet)||$72,416,000||+473.1%|
|48||Rags, scrap twine/rope||$71,947,000||+281.2%|
|49||Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$70,137,000||+324.6%|
|52||Salts, pure sodium chloride||$64,545,000||+24.2%|
|54||Ginger, saffron, tumeric, thyme, curry, bay leaves||$60,938,000||-17.3%|
|55||Synthetic yarn woven fabrics||$50,371,000||+133.4%|
|56||Miscellaneous garments (knit or crochet)||$49,319,000||+165.7%|
|57||Woven fabrics (mixed)||$47,137,000||-69%|
|58||Men's singlets, vests, underpants, pyjamas, bathrobes||$46,668,000||-40.1%|
|59||Medication mixes in dosage||$46,111,000||-71.6%|
|60||Fresh or chilled beef||$45,354,000||-72.3%|
|61||Zinc ores, concentrates||$44,661,000||+7,819%|
|62||Sugar (cane or beet)||$44,289,000||-88.6%|
|64||Blankets, travel rugs||$42,149,000||+20.2%|
|66||Solid-form sugars, fructose, glucose, lactose||$41,526,000||+4.9%|
|67||Miscellaneous plastic items||$40,632,000||+461.7%|
|70||Tracksuits, swimwear (knit or crochet)||$38,016,000||+45.6%|
|71||Women's singlets,pyjamas (not knit or crochet)||$37,998,000||+106.5%|
|72||Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$37,728,000||+879.2%|
|73||Vegetable saps, extracts||$37,555,000||-12.7%|
|74||Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$36,233,000||+23.1%|
|75||Garments from special fabric (not knit or crochet)||$34,762,000||+2,787%|
|77||Inedible meat flour||$31,645,000||-1.7%|
|78||Onions, garlic, leeks||$31,613,000||-37.2%|
|79||Marble monument/building stone||$30,371,000||+15%|
|80||Miscellaneous cutlery including cleavers, hair clippers||$29,315,000||-40.5%|
|82||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$26,989,000||+45.2%|
|83||Fish fillets, pieces||$26,941,000||+22.4%|
|84||Yarn (synthetic staple fibers)||$26,555,000||+36.4%|
|87||Woven fabrics (high synthetic fibres)||$23,997,000||-36.7%|
|88||Textile floor coverings (not tufted, unflocked)||$23,922,000||+380.6%|
|89||Pliers, files, tweezers||$22,351,000||+2,238%|
|90||Camp items including tents, sails||$22,145,000||-74.6%|
|91||Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$21,757,000||+215.3%|
|92||Organic surface-active products, soap||$20,241,000||+71.9%|
|93||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$19,612,000||+210.7%|
|94||Iron ores, concentrates||$18,448,000||+237.9%|
|95||Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste||$18,297,000||-12.5%|
|97||Lead ores, concentrates||$18,164,000||+3,144%|
|99||Yarn (under 85% cotton)||$17,837,000||-58.8%|
|100||Copper waste, scrap||$17,818,000||-69.4%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$19.3 billion or 93.1% by value for all products exported from Pakistan during 2019.
In macroeconomic terms, Pakistan’s total exported goods represent 1.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($1.202 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 1.8% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2019 compares to 2.1% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Pakistan’s total economic performance albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Pakistan’s average unemployment rate was an estimated 4.08% for 2019 down from 5.55% in 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund.
See also Pakistan’s Top Trading Partners, Pakistan’s Top 10 Imports and Top Asian Export Countries
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Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 2, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 2, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 2, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 2, 2020
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on June 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 2, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Pakistan. Accessed on June 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Pakistan. Accessed on June 2, 2020
WorldOMeter, Pakistan Population. Accessed on June 2, 2020