Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports

Gwadar roadside restaurant

Gwadar roadside restaurant

Pakistan shipped US$18.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, down by -24% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in and down by -15.3% from 2015 to 2016.

Pakistan’s top 10 exports accounted for four-fifths (79.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Pakistan’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to US$1.061 trillion in 2016 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exports represent just 1.8% of total Pakistani economic output.

Given Pakistan’s population of 202 million people, its total $18.7 billion in 2016 exports translates to an estimated $90 for every resident in that country.

Pakistan’s unemployment rate was 6.7% during 2016, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Pakistani global shipments during 2016. 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 number one exported product is textiles including bed linens, table linens, bathroom and kitchen linens. In second place was rice shipped from Pakistan.

  1. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$3.8 billion (20.1% of total exports)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3 billion (16.1%)
  3. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $2.6 billion (13.8%)
  4. Cotton: $2.5 billion (13.2%)
  5. Cereals: $916.6 million (4.9%)
  6. Leather/animal gut articles: $700.6 million (3.7%)
  7. Mineral fuels including oil: $415.9 million (2.2%)
  8. Fruits, nuts: $388.2 million (2.1%)
  9. Manmade staple fibers: $367.3 million (2%)
  10. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $334.6 million (1.8%)

Pakistani unknit and non-crochet clothing and accessories was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 77.7% during the 7-year period starting in 2009.

In second place for improving export sales were knit or crochet clothing and accessories which rose by 29.1%.

Pakistan’s exported mineral fuels including oil posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 25.8%.

Led by wheat and corn, the fastest-declining category among the top 10 Pakistani exports was cereals which fell in value by -55.5%. Cotton exports from Pakistan depreciated by -52.6%.


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 is 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$3.5 billion (Up by 12.9% since 2009)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.8 billion (Up by 70.2%)
  3. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $2.4 billion (Up by 20.9%)
  4. Cotton: $1.4 billion (Down by -69.9%)
  5. Cereals: $783.5 million (Down by -60.2%)
  6. Leather/animal gut articles: $546.8 million (Down by -15.9%)
  7. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $294.5 million (Down by -20.6%)
  8. Fish: $237.4 million (Down by -17.2%)
  9. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $229.4 million (Up by 40.6%)
  10. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $224.7 million (Down by -63.3%)

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 -$21.9 billion trade deficit during 2016 up 14.3% from -$19.2 billion in 2009.

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. Machinery including computers: -US$6.3 billion (Up by 119.4% since 2009)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.7 billion (Up by 77%)
  3. Iron, steel: -$2.2 billion (Up by 23.3%)
  4. Vehicles : -$2 billion (Up by 31.5%)
  5. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$2 billion (Down by -4.4%)
  6. Organic chemicals: -$1.6 billion (Down by -19.3%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.6 billion (Up by 61.2%)
  8. Articles of iron or steel: -$985.9 million (Up by 613.7%)
  9. Manmade filaments: -$961.1 million (Up by 93.9%)
  10. Oil seeds: -$945.5 million (Up by 76.4%)

Pakistan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery including computers.


Pakistani Export Companies

Two Pakistani corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. They are:

Based on Forbes 2015 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:

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

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:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 24, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 24, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 24, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on December 9, 2016

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Pakistan. Accessed on December 9, 2016

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on December 9, 2016