Given Pakistan’s population of 216.6 million people, its total $37.3 billion in 2019 imports translates to an estimated $175 in yearly product demand from every person in the South Asian country.
From a continental perspective and based on 2018 data, suppliers in Asia provide almost three-quarters (73.8%) of total Pakistani imported goods. Smaller percentages originate from Europe (11.9%), North America (6%), Africa (5.3%), Latin America (1.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.8%) led by Australia.
Pakistan’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Pakistan’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Pakistan.
- Machinery including computers: US$5 billion (13.3% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $4.6 billion (12%)
- Iron, steel: $2.3 billion (6.1%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $2.2 billion (5.9%)
- Organic chemicals: $2 billion (5.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $1.8 billion (4.7%)
- Cotton: $1.7 billion (4.4%)
- Manmade filaments: $1.5 billion (3.9%)
- Vehicles : $1.2 billion (3.1%)
- Oil seeds: $1 billion (2.7%)
Pakistan’s top 10 imports accounted for 61.4% of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported manmade filaments had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up by 103% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for Pakistan’s expanding import purchases was cotton, up by 32.8%. Pakistani imports of electrical machinery and equipment delivered the only other acceleration up by 5.7%.
Leading the decliners was animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes via a -10.3% retreat year over year.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
Also see the section Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article.
In 2019, Pakistani importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery.
- Computers, optical readers: US$317.5 million (down -18.6% from 2018)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $262.8 million (up 15.6%)
- Piston engine parts: $258.3 million (up 12.2%)
- Air conditioners: $249.4 million (up 45.2%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $234.2 million (down -32.5%)
- Turbo-jets: $233.8 million (up 7.1%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $207 million (up 0.4%)
- Textile fiber work machines: $183.6 million (up 5.3%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $159.8 million (down -13.8%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $139 million (down -54.3%)
Among these import subcategories, Pakistani purchases of air conditioners (up 45.2%), liquid pumps and elevators (up 15.6%) then piston engine parts (up 12.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery -related imports among Pakistani businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Pakistani importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics and related products.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$1.4 billion (up 10% from 2018)
- Electrical converters/power units: $730.2 million (up 152.9%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $409.4 million (up 3.1%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $204.1 million (down -18.2%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $162.4 million (down -73.8%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $149.1 million (down -13.5%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $122.5 million (up 243.8%)
- Unrecorded sound media: $118.4 million (down -33.4%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $114.8 million (up 24.9%)
- Electric motors, generators: $105.4 million (down -16.1%)
Among these import subcategories, Pakistani purchases of television, radio or radar device parts (up 243.8%), electrical converters or power units (up 152.9%) then lower-voltage switches and fuses (up 24.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electronics-related imports among Pakistani businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Pakistani importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of iron and steel.
- Iron or steel scrap: US$880.3 million (down -44.2% from 2018)
- Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $391.3 million (down -24.1%)
- Flat-rolled other alloy steel products: $271.1 million (down -23.5%)
- Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated): $262.3 million (down -27.1%)
- Flat-rolled stainless steel items: $131.4 million (down -3.9%)
- Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $97.6 million (down -57.1%)
- Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $54.4 million (down -74.4%)
- Coiled other alloy steel bars, rods: $45.4 million (down -45.7%)
- Iron ferroalloys: $34.6 million (down -44.2%)
- Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods: $32.6 million (down -9.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Pakistani purchases of flat-rolled stainless steel items fell at the slowest pace from 2018 to 2019 via its -3.9% reduction.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of iron and steel-related imports among Pakistani businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Pakistani importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$1.1 billion (down -84.3% from 2018)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $781.1 million (down -51.9%)
- Petroleum gases: $321.8 million (down -90.9%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $30.7 million (down -33.6%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $11.4 million (down -91.2%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $8.7 million (down -19.4%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $6.1 million (down -86.5%)
- Distilled tar: $3.2 million (no 2018 data)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $584,000 (up 77%)
- Peat: $467,000 (down -6%)
Among these import subcategories, only Pakistani purchases of asphalt or petroleum bitumen mixes thanks to a 77% increase from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related goods among Pakistani businesses and consumers.
Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Import Products
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Pakistan’s top import products are refined petroleum products, crude oil, petroleum gases, palm oil then coal.
The following searchable table displays 100 of Pakistan’s most in-demand imported goods during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||Pakistan's Import Product||2019 Value (US$)||2018-19|
|1||Phone system devices including smartphones||$1,380,561,000||+10%|
|2||Processed petroleum oils||$1,080,408,000||-84.3%|
|3||Cotton (uncarded, uncombed)||$986,461,000||-6.3%|
|4||Iron or steel scrap||$880,293,000||-44.2%|
|5||Synthetic yarn woven fabrics||$868,992,000||+543.1%|
|6||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$781,094,000||-51.9%|
|7||Electrical converters/power units||$730,159,000||+152.9%|
|12||Medication mixes in dosage||$444,107,000||-16.4%|
|14||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$409,393,000||+3.1%|
|15||Synthetic filament yarn||$396,590,000||+8%|
|16||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$391,296,000||-24.1%|
|17||Synthetic organic coloring||$350,436,000||+37.8%|
|20||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$321,031,000||+3.1%|
|21||Computers, optical readers||$317,522,000||-18.6%|
|22||Dried shelled vegetables||$300,689,000||-46%|
|24||Other than warp-knit fabrics||$283,495,000||+458.5%|
|25||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$276,637,000||+56%|
|26||Flat-rolled other alloy steel products||$271,086,000||-23.5%|
|28||Liquid pumps and elevators||$262,813,000||+15.6%|
|29||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$262,254,000||-27.1%|
|31||Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)||$258,522,000||-24.9%|
|32||Piston engine parts||$258,261,000||+12.2%|
|33||Yarn (85%+ cotton)||$255,342,000||+72.2%|
|35||Rubber tires (new)||$246,233,000||+20.3%|
|37||Air or vacuum pumps||$234,190,000||-32.5%|
|39||Heterocyclics, nucleic acids||$223,057,000||+28.1%|
|40||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$207,025,000||+0.4%|
|42||Woven cotton fabrics||$202,835,000||+1006.5%|
|43||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$196,908,000||+3452.4%|
|45||Uncarded/uncombed artificial staple fibers||$185,950,000||-51.3%|
|46||Textile fiber work machines||$183,612,000||+5.3%|
|50||Electric generating sets, converters||$162,383,000||-73.8%|
|51||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$159,797,000||-13.8%|
|52||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$149,111,000||-13.5%|
|53||Artificial filament yarn||$147,655,000||-25.8%|
|58||Uncarded/uncombed synthetic staple fibers||$135,129,000||+12.2%|
|59||Woven fabrics (under 85% cotton)||$134,993,000||+2630.4%|
|60||Flat-rolled stainless steel items||$131,403,000||-3.9%|
|62||Iron or steel tubes, pipes||$128,346,000||-33.1%|
|65||TV/radio/radar device parts||$122,486,000||+243.8%|
|67||Unrecorded sound media||$118,379,000||-33.4%|
|68||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$118,198,000||+63.1%|
|69||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$117,897,000||-0.9%|
|70||Yarn wash/clean/iron machines||$115,497,000||+10%|
|71||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$114,782,000||+24.9%|
|73||Miscellaneous plastic items||$112,570,000||+71.2%|
|74||Woven fabrics (artificial staple fibers)||$112,480,000||+299.4%|
|75||Other organic cleaning preparations||$112,240,000||+9.6%|
|76||Aluminum waste, scrap||$109,319,000||+24.9%|
|77||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$108,962,000||+2485.7%|
|79||Textile fabrics with plastics||$106,704,000||+23.2%|
|80||Rubber/plastic article making machines||$105,643,000||-32.5%|
|81||Electric motors, generators||$105,449,000||-16.1%|
|82||Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing||$100,467,000||-9.8%|
|86||Chemical industry products/residuals||$98,180,000||-38.6%|
|87||Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$97,560,000||-57.1%|
|88||Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream||$96,173,000||-15%|
|89||Ball, roller bearings||$94,638,000||+3.1%|
|92||Electric storage batteries||$93,003,000||+46%|
|94||Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)||$90,629,000||-41.1%|
|97||Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations||$89,081,000||-42%|
|98||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$85,968,000||-35.9%|
These 100 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$53.6 billion or 88.9% by value for all products imported into Pakistan during 2019.
See also Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports and Pakistan’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. 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
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Pakistan. Accessed on June 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Pakistan. Accessed on June 2, 2020