ISLAMABAD - Pakistan had a trade surplus of $6.421 million with Russia in July-August 2022, WealthPK reported. Sajid Ali, Research Associate at Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), told WealthPK that Pakistan has a huge potential of trade with Russia.

Data from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) shows that the bilateral trade volume was worth $388.492 million in fiscal year 2021-22. Exports from Pakistan to Russia were $14.005 million in July-August FY23 compared to $21.133 million in the corresponding period of FY22, showing a decline of 33%. Sajid said trade relations with Central Asian countries must improve to achieve wider access to Russia. He added that Pakistan should divert its banana exports from Afghanistan to Russia and its onion exports from Sri Lanka to Russia. He said Russia imports bananas worth around $1 billion each year, which makes it a potential market for Pakistani exporters.

Sajid said Pakistan’s exports of onions have increased by more than 50% during the last few years, while Pakistan has not exported onions to Russia. Data from the ITC (International Trade Centre) Trade Map shows that Pakistan exports onions to Sri Lanka at $378 per ton, while Russia imports onions from the Netherlands at $936 per ton.

The researcher said that exporting bananas from Pakistan to Russia would benefit the national exchequer by $21 million. He said the exports of onions from Pakistan to Russia have the potential to fetch $4 million. Sajid said Pakistan imports aluminium from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia (SA) at higher prices per ton compared to Russia. Pakistan imports aluminium from the UAE at $1,875 per ton and Saudi Arabia at $1,881 per ton. In contrast, Russia exports aluminium at around $1,550 per ton. Sajid said Pakistan can reduce its import bill by importing aluminium from Russia.

Sajid said Pakistan can save $96 million by importing waste and scrap of iron and steel and polyvinyl chloride from Russia instead of the United States. Pakistan imports iron and steel scrap from the US at $441 per ton, while Russia exports it at less than $250 per ton.

Sajid said Russia imports footwear from Italy that costs around $119,000 per ton. However, had Russia imported footwear from Pakistan, it would cost around $54,000 per ton, which is roughly 50% less than Russian imports from Italy.

“Exports of footwear from Pakistan to Russia would benefit both countries,” he added.

According to Sajid, the footwear industry in Pakistan has a competitive edge in Russia. Exporting footwear with rubber soles to Russia can earn Pakistan $47 million in foreign exchange reserves.

The commodities that Pakistan imports from Russia include gains, vegetables and some roots and tubers, mineral fuels, oil, distillate products, rubber, cellulose, paper and cardboard products, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, dried legumes, newspaper and carbon.