Pakistan has potential to increase its exports to Qatar to at least $2 billion within a few years. The overall bilateral trade potential is around $5 billion, given Pakistan’s energy requirements, Pakistan Business Council (PBC) said in its report. “There are a number of products for which Pakistan has a good potential for export expansion in the Middle East especially in Qatar including textile, pharmaceutical products, medical devices, sports goods including footballs, agricultural products, and technology services,” the report said.
Qatar has to import to fulfil its requirements of food as it faces a scarcity of water and finds it difficult to grow these products within the country, said the report. “Pakistan has an opportunity to capitalize on and work on export expansion of food products and animal fodder as Qatar requires animal feed as well,” the PBC said.
Qatar also has a booming construction industry and Pakistan has an opportunity to invest in infrastructure related projects in Qatar. Pakistan can also send human resources to Qatar for various construction related and other jobs, which will result in enhancing worker’s remittances, the report suggested.
The PBC also suggested the government focus on services exports to Qatar. “The top services exports of Pakistan to Qatar include IT services and Fin-Tech. These exports should be incentivized by the government of Pakistan in order to compete with regional countries,” the PBC recommended.
Pakistan Business Council has also suggested the government to negotiate for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’countries especially Qatar.The PBC has urged the exporters to focus on the quality of products which are in demand in Qatar especially food items and textile.
According to Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), the country’s export basket for Qatar mainly consists of cereals (26.43%), other made-up textile articles (9.56%), edible vegetables (8.62%), meat (7.11%), fish (5.14%), edible fruits and nuts (4.74) and articles of apparel (3.51%).
“To increase export base in Qatar’s market it is essential to find some potential products that Pakistan already exports,” the TDAP recommended. Semi-finished products of iron and steel, floor covering of man-made textile, tufted, live sheep, ceramic sanitary fixtures would be helpful in this regard.
Pakistan’s major import from Qatar includes liquefying gas, polyethylene, Urea, electric machinery, ship boats floating structures and organic chemicals, the TDAP said, adding that imports from Qatar are increasing gradually due to growing demand of energy in the country.TDAP also called for enhancing exports of pharmaceutical products, furniture, bedding, mattresses, machinery, mechanical appliances, electrical machinery and equipment, precious stone dust, textile and food items to Qatar.
According to Pakistan Embassy in Qatar, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries was registered $2.035 billion during first six months (July-December) of the current fiscal year 2022-23. Pakistan exports to Qatar was recorded at $84.48 million during the July-December period, with a slight increase of 0.41% against the same months of last fiscal year.
Imports from Qatar stood at $1.951 million during the period under review, with an increase of 34.84% as compare to the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Pakistan has recorded a deficit of $1.866 billion in its trade with Qatar. Pakistan can reduce the deficit by increasing exports. However, imports from Qatar are difficult to substitute as Pakistan imports the bulk of its natural gas from the Kingdom.
Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk