Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque has revealed that exports to China had registered an upward trend during the first seven months of the current year and if this momentum is sus­tained, we are on track to cross the $4 billion target by the end of this year. Pakistan’s exports to China during the first half of the year crossed the $1.918 billion mark, which is a 10.97 percent increase from $1.728 billion in the same period compared to the previous year.

It is encouraging to see how despite the epidemic, bilateral trade between the two countries has continued to grow significantly. The exports of major products to China increased in rice, sesame seeds, pine nuts, seafood, and other agricultural products, which has helped the country with the ongoing economic crisis. There is a lot more that can be accomplished at the bilateral level as Pakistan has already established pavilions in different cities of China to spread awareness about Pakistani products and online platforms such as JD.com are also being utilised to sell Pakistani products. Given how China is home to the world’s largest e-commerce market, the sign­ing of agreements with other popular online platforms will provide even greater opportunities for scaling up exports.

China has also offered to help Pakistan increase its agricultural exports by providing modern technology and trained management to enhance the yield of crops and by purchasing fruits and spices from Pakistan. There is a lot of potential here and the Ambassador is right in asking the business community to take advantage of the potential synergies that are available. Pakistan could potentially be­come a food basket for China given how huge the market is and also the purchasing power it possesses.

However, while this is undeniably encouraging news, it must be mentioned that this is still a very narrow category of products we are exporting, and we will have to diversify our portfolio and export more value-added goods and services to improve our balance of trade in the long run. At the same time, we must also look to increase the number of quality trade partners around the world as there are many markets out there that we have not explored as of yet.