Pakistan’s Top Trading Partners

Karachi camera shop

Karachi camera shop

In addition to its southern coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, Pakistan shares land borders with China in the northeast, India to the east, Iran to the southwest and Afghanistan to the west.

Pakistan shipped US$21.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents just 0.1% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion for 2016.

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.

Pakistan’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Pakistan’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Pakistani shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Pakistani exports.

  1. United States: US$3.6 billion (16.3% of total Pakistani exports)
  2. United Kingdom: $1.6 billion (7.5%)
  3. China: $1.5 billion (6.9%)
  4. Afghanistan: $1.4 billion (6.4%)
  5. Germany: $1.3 billion (5.9%)
  6. Spain: $904.6 million (4.1%)
  7. United Arab Emirates: $869.1 million (4%)
  8. Netherlands: $758.2 million (3.5%)
  9. Italy: $703.3 million (3.2%)
  10. Belgium: $700.7 million (3.2%)
  11. Bangladesh: $646.4 million (3%)
  12. South Korea: $463.3 million (2.1%)
  13. France: $399.9 million (1.8%)
  14. India: $334.8 million (1.5%)
  15. Saudi Arabia: $334.5 million (1.5%)

Nearly three-quarters (70.8%) of Pakistani exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Among the top trading partners, South Korea increased its import purchases from Pakistan at the fastest rate with a 85.6% gain from 2016 to 2017. In second place was the Netherlands (up 16.5%) followed by the United Arab Emirates (up 10.7%).

Leading the decliners was Saudi Arabia with a -12.1% reduction since 2016 and China’s -5.2% cutback.

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Pakistan incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$13.9 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. United Arab Emirates: -$6.7 billion
  3. Indonesia: -$2.4 billion
  4. Saudi Arabia: -$2.4 billion
  5. Japan: -$2.1 billion
  6. Qatar: -$1.5 billion
  7. Kuwait: -$1.4 billion
  8. India: -$1.4 billion
  9. Thailand: -$1.1 billion
  10. Malaysia: -$971.9 million

Among Pakistan’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Pakistani deficits with Qatar (up 116.3%), Saudi Arabia (up 63.8%) and Thailand (up 40.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Pakistan’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Pakistan to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Pakistan incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Afghanistan: US$975.2 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. United Kingdom: $868.9 million
  3. United States: $717.8 million
  4. Spain: $695.7 million
  5. Bangladesh: $574.5 million
  6. Belgium: $334.9 million
  7. Germany: $175 million
  8. Sri Lanka: $165.6 million
  9. Portugal: $154.3 million
  10. Madagascar: $151.3 million

Among Pakistan’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Pakistani surpluses with Belgium (up 328.2%), Madagascar (up 149.8%) and Spain (up 19%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Pakistan’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Pakistan to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Pakistani Trading Partners

Two Pakistani corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. 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:

  • 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)


 
See also Pakistan’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Pakistani Import Products and Capital Facts for Islamabad, Pakistan

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

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

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 16, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on May 16, 2018