Virus Protection Gear Sales Seen Reversing Pakistan Exports Fall

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Pakistan expects exports to recover, aided by demand for personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s trade adviser said.

Exports of PPE, masks and other protective gear -- a new market -- have increased, Abdul Razak Dawood, the trade adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said by telephone. Textiles, which account for half of the nation’s export, is also seeing a pick up in orders, he said.

Virus Protection Gear Sales Seen Reversing Pakistan Exports Fall

Pakistan has “really moved fast into that area,” Dawood said, referring to PPE. The current year should be a better one than last, he said.

South Asia’s second-largest economy, whose exports dropped 7% in the year ended June, isn’t alone in stepping up production of PPEs. Neighbor India has become the world’s second-biggest maker of PPE kits after a shortage at the beginning of the outbreak pushed it to boost local manufacturing.

Supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic has meant Pakistan secured its first sportswear order from Hugo Boss AG, according to Ijaz Akhtar Khokhar, chief coordinator at Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

Pakistan plans to give tax incentives to any global brand that opens an office in the country, said trade adviser Dawood.

The South Asian nation is looking to spur growth in the economy after its first contraction in 68 years in the year ended June. While exports dropped in seven out of the past 12 months, the rupee’s depreciation -- by more than 50% since late 2017 -- has made the nation’s shipments competitive globally, said Dawood.

Dawlance, a local home appliances maker, exported microwaves to Bangladesh for the first time, while D.G. Khan Cement Ltd. has sent clinker to new markets such as China and Philippines. The cement maker has another order from the Philippines for supply of 20,000 tons as well as making more shipments to China, according to CFO Inayatullah Niazi.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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