Pakistan’s bilateral trade with Canada is far below the actual potential which can be improved by taking special measures, trade experts said. Malik Sohail Hussain, Secretary General (Pakistan Chapter) of Pakistan Western Canada Trade Association (PWCTA), told WealthPK that Canada is a huge potential market for Pakistani products.
“Pakistan needs to focus on exporting industrial products to Canada other than textiles,” Hussain said, adding that agro-products are also in demand there. He was of the view that Pakistani exporters and importers find it difficult to obtain visa if they want to travel to Canada. “The Canadian government should relax visa regime for Pakistani traders,” he said.
The PWCTA secretary general said that the annual bilateral trade should be around $2 billion and even more. “The Ministry of Commerce should encourage exporters to boost trade with Canada,” he added. Hussain said Canada is an import-oriented country and the business community of Pakistan has a good opportunity to tap this potential market for exports. “Pakistani private sector can set up a base in Canada and capture the North American market,” he observed.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan’s bilateral trade volume with Canada was recorded at $765 million during the fiscal year 2021-22. Pakistan’s exports to Canada were recorded at $462 million, while imports were recorded at $303 million. Azhar Husain, Trade and Investment Consular in Toronto, said that apparel and clothing, plastics, leather gloves, home textiles, rice, travel goods and iron and streel are Pakistan’s top export commodities to Canada.
Pakistan’s major imports from Canada are dried leguminous vegetables, ferrous waste and scrap, colza seeds, automatic data-processing machines, iron and steel, worn clothing, pharmaceuticals, machinery and mechanical appliances. According to Azhar Hussain, Canada was an import market of $490 billion in 2021. Pakistan has significant potential to increase its market share in products such as apparels, home textile, articles of leather, medical equipment and agricultural products including rice and processed food.
According to Pakistan Business Council (PBC), the country’s top 20 commodities with the highest export potential to Canada are valued at $2.9 billion. Twelve of these belong to the category of textiles and textile articles. Rice is currently imported by Canada in low quantities, but it holds immense potential, a value which could possibly exceed $290 million, the PBC estimated.
Pakistan is one of the top suppliers of textiles and textile articles to Canada. Countries competing against Pakistan in this regard are the United States and Bangladesh, both of which have trade treaties that give them tariff advantages, the PBS said. However, the PBC suggested against the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Canada. “With a current minor share in Canada’s textile imports, Pakistan stands to lose more especially in the agriculture sector,” it said.
The PBC recommended a limited Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in the first stage, which allows Pakistani manufacturers increased access to Canada’s textile market. The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and PWCTA have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly promote trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Canada.
Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk