There have been questions raised on the extent to which foreign policy of Pakistan should reflect its trading relationships with individual countries, regions, and groups of countries which are members of international organizations? This requires determination of which are the major destinations of the country’s exports, and which are the major origins of our imports? What is the regional and country-wise pattern of our trade surpluses and deficits? And which are the major countries to which our exports have shown faster growth?
The analysis has been undertaken with trade data made available by the SBP in its economic data website. For earlier years, the relevant information has been obtained from the SBP publication, Handbook of Statistics on Pakistan Economy.
The top four export markets of Pakistan in 2020-21 are the EU countries combined, the USA, UK, and China. It is significant that the major destinations of Pakistan’s exports are mostly in Europe and North America. Pakistan has been granted GSP plus status by the European Union with some preferential tariff treatment. Pakistan also has a free trade agreement with China which has been implemented in steps from 2006 onwards.
The combined exports to the 27 EU countries aggregated to $6.4 billion in 2020-21. This represents a share of 25 percent of Pakistan’s total exports. The second largest value of exports is to the USA of $5.0 billion, equivalent to 20 percent of total exports of Pakistan.
The other two relatively large destinations of the country’s exports are the UK and China. Combined, the share of Pakistan’s four major export markets is over 62 percent of total global exports. This highlights the extreme regional concentration of the country’s exports. The share of SAARC countries is only 8 percent, despite presence of the SAFTA free trade agreement. It was somewhat higher when there was trade directly with India.
Turning to the regional distribution of the country’s imports, the sources are more diversified. China is by far the dominant exporter to Pakistan. Imports from China aggregated to $13.2 billion in 2020-21, equivalent to over 25 percent of total imports. The other major exporting countries to Pakistan include the OPEC countries with a share of 24 percent, followed by the EU countries and the USA. Overall, the combined share of these countries is close to 55 percent in total imports of Pakistan.
What has been the growth rate of exports to the major destinations? Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, the fastest cumulative increase over the six years is to the UK of 33 percent, followed by a 32 percent increase to Germany and of 11 percent to the USA. The big declines are to China of 27 percent, to Afghanistan of 37 percent and to the UAE of as much as 57 percent.
By far the largest increase in imports has been from China, which has taken full advantage of the free trade agreement with Pakistan. Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, the cumulative increase has been as much as 133 percent. Now China alone accounts for 30 percent of total imports of Pakistan.
The overall trade deficit of Pakistan was very large in 2020-21 at $26.5 billion, with imports over twice the level of exports. Therefore, the likelihood is high that Pakistan will carry a significant deficit with most of its major trading partners. The country-wise balance of trade is given in the table below.
======================================================================== Table 1 ======================================================================== Pakistan's Trade Balance with Major Trading Partners, 2020-21 ($ billion) ======================================================================== Exports to Imports from Balance of Trade ======================================================================== China 2.0 13.2 -11.2 USA 5.0 2.4 3.6 EU Countries 6.5 3.7 2.8 Major OPEC Countries 1.9 9.4 -7.5 Others 10.2 28.7 -18.5 ======================================================================== Total 25.6 52.1 -26.5 ========================================================================
Pakistan has a very large trade deficit with China, equivalent to 42 percent of its global deficit. The deficit has been growing rapidly. Pakistan’s exports to China have been declining while imports have shown fast growth. Today, China’s exports to Pakistan are six times its imports from Pakistan. The time has come for a review of the implementation of the 2006 Trade Agreement between Pakistan and China. Pakistan needs to seek more quid pro quo from China.
The trade surplus with two major trading partners – the USA and the EU countries – is of $3.6 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively. These are the bigger markets, especially for textile products. The trading relationship with these countries needs to be preserved and built upon.
Pakistan has preferential access to the EU market through the GSP plus programme since 2014. This allows a large share of Pakistan’s exports to enter EU countries free of duty. Two criteria must be met for continuation of this facility. First, GSP-covered imports should be less than 2 percent of EU’s imports from all GSP beneficiaries. The share currently of Pakistan is 1.6 percent. Second, the seven largest GSP covered products must account for at least 75 percent of Pakistan’s total GSP covered exports to the EU. The share currently of these products is 94 percent.
Further, Pakistan has had to ratify 27 core international conventions and subscribe to binding commitments to implement them effectively. These are mainly UN and ILO conventions and other conventions on environment. The GSP status of Pakistan is periodically reviewed by the EU. Weak areas of implementation by Pakistan relate to gender inequality, workers’ rights, and the presence of child workers.
There has been some focus recently on Pakistan’s trading relationship with Russia. The current volume of trade between the two countries is small with $163 million of exports and $593 million of imports. The imports are largely of wheat. Now with the international trade sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, new sources of wheat will have to be found when the quantity required could rise to almost 5 million tons given the failure of the current wheat crop.
Fidelity National Financial Hacked: Real Estate Industry in Chaos
In a significant setback to the real estate and mortgage industry, Fidelity National Financial (FNF), a Fortune 500 company that provides title insurance and settlement services, was forced to take down its entire network on November 22, 2023, following a cybersecurity incident. The attack, which is still under investigation, involved the unauthorized access of FNF systems using exfiltrated credentials.
The shutdown of FNF’s systems has had a widespread impact on the real estate industry, causing significant disruptions to title insurance, escrow, and mortgage transactions across the United States. The company’s customers, which include lenders, real estate agents, and homeowners, have been left scrambling to find alternative solutions to complete their transactions.
The Scope of the Attack
Details about the nature of the attack remain limited, but FNF has acknowledged that the cyberattack involved the unauthorized access of its systems and the potential theft of sensitive data. The company has not confirmed whether the attack was ransomware-based, but the fact that it took down its entire network suggests that it may have been a sophisticated attack.
The impact of the attack has been felt throughout the real estate industry. Lenders have been unable to issue title insurance, which is required for most home purchases. Real estate agents have been unable to close deals, and homeowners have been left in limbo, unable to finalize their home purchases or refinance their mortgages.
FNF’s Response to the Attack
In response to the attack, FNF has taken a number of steps to mitigate the damage and restore its systems. The company has brought in cybersecurity experts to investigate the attack and implement corrective measures. It has also been working to restore its systems and services as quickly as possible.
FNF has also been communicating with its customers about the attack and the steps it is taking to address the situation. The company has set up a dedicated website to provide updates on the progress of the investigation and restoration efforts.
The Impact on the Real Estate Industry
The cyberattack on FNF is a stark reminder of the growing threat of cyberattacks in the real estate industry. As more and more businesses rely on technology to conduct their operations, they become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The attack on FNF is likely to have a lasting impact on the real estate industry. Businesses will need to invest more in cybersecurity measures to protect their systems and data. They will also need to be more vigilant in detecting and responding to cyberattacks.
Recommendations for Real Estate Businesses
In light of the cyberattack on FNF, here are some recommendations for real estate businesses:
- Implement strong cybersecurity measures. This includes using strong passwords, firewalls, and antivirus software. Businesses should also regularly back up their data.
- Educate employees about cybersecurity. Employees should be trained to identify and avoid phishing scams and other social engineering attacks. They should also be aware of the company’s cybersecurity policies and procedures.
- Have a plan for responding to cyberattacks. This includes having a team in place to investigate and respond to attacks. Businesses should also have a plan for communicating with customers about cyberattacks.
Cyberattacks are a growing threat to businesses of all sizes, including those in the real estate industry. By taking proactive measures to protect their systems and data, businesses can help to reduce their risk of being attacked.
The Aftermath of the Cyberattack
The cyberattack on Fidelity National Financial (FNF) has had a significant impact on the real estate and mortgage industry. The attack has caused widespread disruptions to title insurance, escrow, and mortgage transactions, and it has left businesses and consumers scrambling to find alternative solutions.
Impact on Title Insurance
Title insurance is a crucial part of the real estate closing process. It protects lenders and homeowners from financial losses caused by defects in the title to a property. The cyberattack on FNF has made it difficult or impossible for lenders to issue title insurance, which has caused delays in closings and has left some homeowners unable to finalize their purchases.
Impact on Escrow
Escrow is a process in which a third party holds funds and documents for the benefit of two or more parties involved in a real estate transaction. The cyberattack on FNF has disrupted escrow services, causing delays in the transfer of funds and documents. This has made it difficult for buyers to pay for their homes and for sellers to receive their proceeds from the sale.
Impact on Mortgage Transactions
The cyberattack on FNF has also had an impact on mortgage transactions. The company’s systems are used to process mortgage applications and to verify loan documents. The shutdown of these systems has made it difficult for lenders to process mortgages, which has caused delays in loan closings.
Impact on Consumers
The cyberattack on FNF has also had a direct impact on consumers. Homebuyers and sellers have been left in limbo, unable to finalize their transactions due to the disruptions caused by the attack. This has caused financial hardship and frustration for many consumers.
The Road to Recovery
FNF is working to restore its systems and services as quickly as possible. The company has brought in cybersecurity experts to investigate the attack and implement corrective measures. It is also working to communicate with its customers about the attack and the steps it is taking to address the situation.
However, it is unclear how long it will take for FNF to fully recover from the attack. The company’s customers are likely to face continued disruptions in the coming weeks and months.
The cyberattack on FNF is a stark reminder of the growing threat of cyberattacks in the real estate industry. Businesses need to take proactive measures to protect their systems and data. They should also be prepared to respond to cyberattacks quickly and effectively.
Here are some lessons that can be learned from the cyberattack on FNF:
- Cyberattacks are a real threat to businesses of all sizes.
- Businesses need to invest in strong cybersecurity measures.
- Businesses need to educate their employees about cybersecurity.
- Businesses need to have a plan for responding to cyberattacks.
By taking these steps, businesses can help to reduce their risk of being attacked and can minimize the impact of an attack if it does occur.
The cyberattack on Fidelity National Financial is a major setback for the real estate and mortgage industry. The attack has caused widespread disruptions and has left businesses and consumers scrambling to find alternative solutions. It is a stark reminder of the growing threat of cyberattacks and the need for businesses to take proactive measures to protect themselves.
Unveiling the Megacities: A Comprehensive Look at the World’s Urban Giants
Table of Contents
In the vast canvas of global urbanization, megacities emerge as the epicentres of human civilization, shaping the narrative of our collective existence. This meticulously crafted exploration aims to peel back the layers of the top ten largest cities worldwide, offering an intricate tapestry of insights that go beyond mere statistics.
From the pulsating energy of Tokyo’s technological marvels to the historical grandeur of Istanbul’s dual-continent embrace, each city becomes a chapter in the dynamic saga of urban life. Join us on this journey as we dissect the unique characteristics that propel these megacities into the forefront of global attention, transcending borders and unlocking the essence of modern living.
1. Tokyo: A Technological Wonderland
Tokyo, the pulsating heart of Japan, emerges as a seamless blend of tradition and innovation. Boasting a skyline that mirrors its technological prowess, the cityscape is punctuated by iconic landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower and the Shibuya Crossing. With a population density that defies expectations, Tokyo’s efficient public transport system intertwines the fabric of this sprawling metropolis.
2. Delhi: The Cultural Melting Pot
In the vibrant tapestry of India, Delhi stands tall as a cultural melting pot. From the historic Red Fort to the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk, every corner whispers tales of a bygone era. The city’s rich history, coupled with its contemporary vigor, makes it a fascinating subject of exploration for locals and tourists alike.
3. Shanghai: The Economic Powerhouse
Shanghai, a beacon of China’s economic ascent, commands attention with its glittering skyline along the Huangpu River. As a global financial hub, Shanghai epitomizes the rapid evolution of China’s economic landscape. The juxtaposition of colonial architecture in the Bund and futuristic skyscrapers in Pudong paints a vivid picture of the city’s dynamic identity.
4. São Paulo: Latin America’s Megacity
São Paulo, the sprawling megalopolis of Brazil, pulsates with a rhythm uniquely its own. Nestled within the lush landscape, this city is a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of Latin American culture. From the bustling Paulista Avenue to the tranquillity of Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo captivates with its diverse offerings.
5. Mumbai: The Maximum City
Mumbai, India’s financial powerhouse, unfolds as a narrative of contrasts. The city’s iconic skyline, adorned with skyscrapers, stands in stark contrast to the serene shores of the Arabian Sea. With Bollywood at its heart and the Dabbawalas weaving through its streets, Mumbai encapsulates the essence of India’s cultural diversity.
6. Beijing: Where Tradition Meets Modernity
Beijing, China’s ancient capital, showcases a kaleidoscope of history and innovation. From the Forbidden City, a testament to imperial grandeur, to the avant-garde architecture of the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing seamlessly intertwines its rich heritage with a vision for the future.
7. Istanbul: Bridging Continents
Istanbul, straddling Europe and Asia, unfolds as a city where history and geography converge. The Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are timeless witnesses to the city’s imperial past. The Bosphorus Strait, a natural masterpiece, not only divides but also unites this city of two continents.
8. Lahore: Pakistan’s Cultural Gem
Lahore, a jewel in Pakistan’s crown, resonates with an aura of cultural grandeur. Standing as architectural marvels, the Lahore Fort and Badshahi Mosque reflect the city’s Mughal legacy. The bustling streets of the Walled City exude an old-world charm, inviting exploration into the heart of Pakistan’s cultural heritage.
9. Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Asia
Shenzhen, a testament to China’s technological prowess, emerges as the Silicon Valley of Asia. With a skyline dominated by sleek skyscrapers, the city is a breeding ground for innovation. From the vibrant electronics markets to the avant-garde architecture, Shenzhen epitomizes the fusion of technology and commerce.
10. Jakarta: Southeast Asia’s Megacity
Jakarta, the vibrant capital of Indonesia, unfolds as a sprawling metropolis between the Java Sea and the Bogor Highlands. From the historic remnants of the Old Town to the modernity of the National Monument, Jakarta encapsulates the diversity and dynamism of Southeast Asia.
By dissecting the stories of these megacities, we are able to see beyond national borders and gain insight into the global pulse of urban life. Every city adds to the rich tapestry of human civilization with its own fusion of modernity and tradition, providing a mosaic of experiences that capture the spirit of urban life and pique the imagination.
The ‘Live and Let Live’ Era is Over: China and the US Are on a Collision Course
The notion of ‘live and let live’ has long been touted as a potential cornerstone for a stable and cooperative relationship between China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies. However, recent developments paint a rather grim picture, suggesting that this once-envisioned approach may be teetering on the brink of collapse.
A Brief History of ‘Live and Let Live’
The concept of ‘live and let live’ gained prominence during the Cold War era, when the US and the Soviet Union, the two dominant superpowers, sought to avoid direct confrontation while maintaining their respective spheres of influence. This approach, characterized by a degree of tolerance and accommodation, helped prevent global catastrophe.
In the context of China-US relations, ‘live and let live’ has been interpreted as a tacit agreement to coexist peacefully, acknowledging each other’s interests and refraining from interference in domestic affairs. This approach has been credited with fostering economic interdependence and preventing major conflicts.
The Erosion of ‘Live and Let Live’
- Ideological Differences: The fundamental ideological differences between the two countries, with China’s authoritarian system contrasting sharply with the US’s democratic values, have created a persistent source of tension.
- Economic Rivalry: The rapid rise of China’s economy has transformed the global landscape, leading to concerns about its economic dominance and potential threat to US interests.
- Geopolitical Competition: The expanding geopolitical influence of China, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, has heightened US anxieties about its strategic ambitions.
- Technological Advancement: China’s rapid technological advancements, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence and 5G, have raised concerns about potential US vulnerabilities.
The Impact of Recent Developments
- Trade War: The ongoing trade war between the two countries has imposed significant economic costs and raised concerns about a broader decoupling of their economies.
- Technology Crackdown: The US’s crackdown on Chinese technology companies, such as Huawei and TikTok, has intensified technological rivalry and raised concerns about protectionism.
- Taiwan Tensions: The heightened tensions surrounding Taiwan, with China’s increasing military assertiveness, have raised fears of a potential conflict.
- South China Sea Disputes: The ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea have remained a flashpoint for potential conflict.
The Path Forward
Amidst these challenges, the future of ‘live and let live’ between China and the US remains uncertain. Both countries face a difficult decision: to continue pursuing a cooperative approach or embrace a more confrontational stance.
A return to the ‘live and let live’ approach would require a significant shift in both countries’ attitudes and policies. It would demand a willingness to compromise, acknowledge each other’s interests, and refrain from provocative actions.
However, the path forward is fraught with challenges. The deeply entrenched ideological differences, economic rivalry, and geopolitical competition make it difficult to envision a return to the status quo.
The ‘live and let live’ approach between China and the US has served as a crucial stabilizing force in international relations. However, recent developments suggest that this approach is facing an existential crisis. Both countries must carefully consider the consequences of their actions and make a concerted effort to avert a downward spiral that could have devastating global consequences. Embracing a more cooperative approach, while acknowledging and addressing underlying differences, remains the only viable path forward for ensuring a stable and prosperous future for both nations.
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