Pakistan to send its trade delegation comprising representatives from 22 companies of textile, and other sectors to Argentina, Chile and Peru from March 5 to 14, 2018, to explore the market and negotiate business deals. A single country trade exhibition is also scheduled by TDAP in Chile in August this year. Pakistan’s imports from South American countries continued to outweigh its exports to the region, with a deficit of over $103 mn registered during July- December last year as South American markets restrict market access of textile products to protect the domestic industry and as such perceive textile products of Pakistan a threat to their domestic industry.

Mercosur, a trading bloc of South American countries, is the fifth largest economy in the world today with a GDP of $2.7 tr. However, Pakistan’s trade volume with the South American region has hovered around $600 mn since FY2014- 15, except FY2015-16 when the volume was recorded at $769.725 mn. While there has been an overall increase in the country’s imports from South America from $305 mn in 2014- 15 to $222 mn in the first half of the current year, Pakistan’s exports to the region have gradually declined from $296 mn in 2014-15 to $239 mn in the last fiscal year. Within the Mercusor, Pakistan’s largest trading partners have been Argentina and Brazil with bilateral trade volume at $160.894 mn and $251.18 mn, respectively, for fiscal year 2016-17, as per the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) figures.

The Ministry of Commerce said that it recognizes the immense trade potential of the South American region and has taken steps to enhance trade with South American countries and Mercosur as a bloc. It says 2 per cent additional drawback has been offered on exports to non-traditional markets including Latin America.