Great potential for China-Pak trade
Editor's note: Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law，Senior Fellow of the Charhar Institute, former Defense Attache in South Asian countries. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of China Economic Net.
Trade volume between China and Pakistan totaled US$ 12.56 billion in the first half of 2021, showing an increase of 1.6 times against the same period last year.
According to the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China, trade volume between China and Pakistan has increased explosively against the global trend under the serious impact of the pandemic.
For this beyond-expectation feat, I think the main reasons are as follows:
First, over the past two years, China and Pakistan have overcome the impact of the pandemic and jointly promoted the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Special economic zones, special technological zones, industrial parks, and agricultural demonstration zones in Pakistan have been carried out in an all-round way, which has greatly improved the business environment in Pakistan. Many foreign enterprises, especially Chinese enterprises, have greatly increased their investment in Pakistan, and multiple Chinese enterprises from a variety of industries have settled down in Pakistan and cooperate with local companies across different industries by providing them with modern technologies and equipment. This has greatly enhanced the production and export of Pakistan's commodities.
Second, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. both sides take this opportunity to comprehensively promote bilateral relations, including trade and economic cooperation, to a new height. China-Pakistan relations have become more pragmatic, and economic and trade cooperation has further consolidated the foundation of traditional friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries.
Third, since the second phase protocol of the China-Pakistan FTA entered into force on December 1, 2019, the number of zero-tariff products between the two countries has increased significantly, thus paving the way for the substantial and sustained growth of bilateral trade.
Fourth, China, with a population of 1.4 billion, is a huge market for all kinds of commodities from Pakistan. Over the years, more and more Pakistani exporters and Chinese importers have vigorously tapped the Chinese market and contributed to the growth of bilateral trade. Pakistan's exports to China in the first quarter of 2021 totaled US$ 888 million compared with US$ 526 million during the same period in 2020, representing a year-on-year increase of 69%, thus reducing the trade imbalance between China and Pakistan.