Pakistan Import Payments to India Rise by 13% in 10MFY24

Pakistan Import Payments to India Rise by 13% in 10MFY24

Pakistan has reported a notable increase of 13% in import payments to neighboring India during the first ten months (July – April) of the fiscal year 2023-24.

According to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country paid $172 million during this period, compared to $152 million in the corresponding months of the previous fiscal year.

A report by the SBP highlighted the significant economic potential between the two nations. Pakistan and India, being the most populous and largest economies in the South Asian region, have substantial opportunities for intra-regional trade. As dominant members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), both countries have historically engaged in various forms of trade, despite political tensions.

The report detailed that trade between Pakistan and India currently occurs through three primary channels. Formal trade, which is conducted through official means, remains minimal. A considerable portion of trade takes place illegally via smuggling through the porous Indo-Pak land borders and via Afghanistan. Additionally, a significant amount of trade is conducted through third countries such as Dubai and Singapore. These countries act as intermediaries due to their status as free ports, facilitating legal trade activities by agents from both Pakistan and India.

The SBP report further emphasized the vast potential for trade between the two nations, suggesting that the actual trade volume could be much higher if informal trade routes and third-country channels were fully accounted for. The increase in import payments, despite the complex trade dynamics, reflects a growing economic interaction that could benefit both economies if formal trade barriers were reduced.

Economic analysts suggest that enhancing formal trade mechanisms could not only increase transparency but also significantly boost economic ties, leading to mutual benefits. Improved trade relations could help both countries leverage their economic strengths, fostering growth and stability in the region.

Despite the political and logistical challenges, the steady increase in import payments to India indicates a resilient demand for Indian goods in Pakistan. As both nations continue to navigate their complex relationship, the economic data underscores the importance of maintaining and potentially expanding trade links.