Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood on Friday expressed the hope that the country’s exports in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will cross the $ 2 billion mark in the Financial Year (FY) 2020-21. “The ICT exports will soon become a very important sector in Pakistan’s total exports,” he said at a consultative meeting held at the Ministry of Commerce which also discussed Pakistan’s Global Trade in Services for the first half of the Financial Year (FY) 2020-21. The meeting was also attended by the officials of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), said a press release issued by Ministry of commerce here. The Adviser was informed that during the period of July to December 2020, Pakistan’s total exports of services stood at $2.844 billion as compared to $2.835 billion, during the same period in the previous year. He was also informed that the import of services declined by 15.7 Percent to $ 3.821 billion during July to December 2020 as compared to July to December 2019. Abdul Razak Dawood was informed that significant growth has been seen in Insurance and Pension services which grew by 21 percent, Financial Services by 26 percent, “Telecommunication and ICT” services by 40 Percent and Other Business Services. He was also informed that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Travel and Transport Services exports were adversely affected showing negative growth of 28 percent and 18 percent respectively. However, these sectors are likely to improve once the pandemic subsides. Razak Dawood noted with satisfaction that during the period July to December 2020, Pakistan’s services exports have finally turned around and have started to show positive growth. He said that Services play an important role in everyday life. They have a central place in both domestic and international economies and account for the bulk of global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and trade, he observed. He said that Services connect countries to the international trading system by facilitating supply chains and e-commerce. He was of the view that the most significant increase in exports of Services was in “Telecommunication and ICT” services which increased by 40 percent to $958 million during July to December 2020 as compared to $684 million in the same period the previous year. Razak Dawood noted with satisfaction that the trade balance in the Services sector has improved significantly during the first six months of the current financial year. The trade balance stood at $ -977 million during July to December 2020 as compared to $ -1,697 million during the same period in the previous year, thereby showing an improvement of 42 percent. He said that this would contribute significantly to the improvement of Current Account Deficit. He was also told that all over the world, workers’ remittances are included in the export of services as they come under the Mode 4 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) classification of services exports which relates to the presence of natural persons of a member in the territory of any other member. He was informed that the true impact of services export of Pakistan can be conceived completely workers’ remittances were also included in the export of services as per the WTO practice. He commended the presentation of the facts and figures relating to services trade by the relevant officials of the Ministry of Commerce. The Adviser urged them that in order to increase the services exports of Pakistan, new markets have to be found for our exports of services. He also advised the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to focus on export promotion of services. He was of the view that the market access and export promotion of services has to go hand-in-hand in a synchronized manner. He also advised the Ministry of Commerce and TDAP to go an extra mile for facilitation of the export of ICT services. In keeping with the trend this Financial Year, exports of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Telecommunication Services have grown by 43 percent to $ 194 million in December 2020 as compared to $ 135 million in December 2019, he said on his official twitter account. For July-December 2020, these exports grew by 40 percent to $ 958 million as compared to $ 684 million during the same period last year. He said that ICT exports now constitute 33 percent of our total export of services, which is an encouraging development and “I am optimistic that exports of ICT will cross $ 2 billion this year.