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Brexit puts Pakistan in a spot

Pakistan’s exports to United Kingdom increased by 32.6 per cent from 2012 to 2014. UK exports to Pakistan fell by 19 per cent from 2012 to 2014.

Pakistan's main exports to the UK are bed linen, textile knitted or crocheted materials, toilet and kitchen linen rice, semi-milled or wholly milled, women’s trousers and shorts, men’s and boys’ shirts and rice husked.

UK's main exports to Pakistan are ferrous waste and scrap, iron and steel, semi diesel engines, artificial staple fibers, viscose, gas turbines, locomotive parts etc.

If the pound's value remains low, it may have two implications. Pakistan’s textile exports may shift to other EU countries without GSP Plus benefits. Second, with a cheaper pound, imports from the UK may increase. A weak euro will also have implications for Pakistani exports.

Pakistan may decide signing a free trade agreement with Britain after the country voted to leave the European Union as GSP Plus benefits may be threatened in the event that the country decides not to accord the same preferences.

In textiles, Pakistan would have to see whether the UK gives it the same access which it gives to competitors like Bangladesh, India, Turkey, China and Vietnam.

The UK could follow the model of Norway or Switzerland which means separate negotiations.