ISLAMABAD – Recent regulatory duties (RD) imposed on luxury and non-essential items have significantly reduced imports in Pakistan, with a decline of 23 percent observed in December 2018.
The effects of these regulatory duties have led to a visible drop in imports, and the government’s policy measures to curb imports and boost exports seem to be taking hold.
According to a statement released on Thursday, the decline in imports became evident in December 2018 under the regulatory duties (RD) regime, which became effective on 1994 tariff lines. In December 2018, imports fell from $896 million in the same month the previous year to $691 million, indicating a 23 percent decrease.
The data highlights that the import compression measures, introduced in the supplementary Finance Act of 2018, are now effectively curtailing imports in line with the government’s policy objectives.
Import data for containerized cargo has also shown a 9 percent reduction, indicating a broader impact of the regulatory duties on imports.
While imports declined, there has been a 5.5 percent growth in exports in December 2018 compared to the same month in 2017. Over the first six months of the fiscal year, from July to December 2018, exports have experienced a growth of over 2 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.
The government’s policy measures have contributed to the reduction of the trade deficit, which stood at $17.7 billion in the corresponding period of July to December 2017. In the same period in 2018, the trade deficit has shrunk by 5 percent to $16.8 billion. This progress bodes well for the overall balance of payments for the country.
Overall imports for the period of July to December 2018 have contracted by over 2 percent, declining from $28.7 billion in the same period in 2017 to $28 billion in 2018. These developments demonstrate the government’s commitment to rebalancing the trade dynamics and stabilizing the economy through a combination of import reduction and export promotion policies.