Advisor to the PM on Commerce and Trade, Abdul Razak Dawood has said that target for goods and services exports has been at $35 billion in the fiscal year 2021-22 despite the challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic. “For the current fiscal year, which started from July 2021, we have fixed a $35 billion export target, including $28 billion for goods and $7 billion for services,” Dawood said in an interview to a foreign news agency. “We know that the Covid situation is still around the world, and we have made a lot of strategic planning to support our exporters,” Dawood said. “It won’t be easy because everybody is opening up and they are going to get into the export market because the market has been depressed. So, it will be difficult, but will be achieved.” To further promote export activity, Dawood said the government is looking into supporting new export sectors and diversification in the dominant ones such as textiles.“If we want our exports to go higher, we have to diversify within existing sectors like textile and leather, and diversity in new sectors. The new sectors are pharmaceutical, engineering, and food processing we are looking at,” he said. “In the engineering sub-sectors of motorcycles, refrigerators, transformers, we are feeling that we are becoming more and more competitive. We are bringing down our cost of production by reducing duties on raw materials.” After its high performance last year, the textile sector’s export target has been set at $20 billion. “This is an ambitious target from $15.5 billion to take it to $20 billion,” Dawood said, “but we feel that we should keep an ambitious target, and everybody should move and try to achieve it.” The high target comes as the South Asian nation achieved record high exports of $25.3 billion, including $15.5 billion in textile and $2 billion in IT services, during the previous fiscal year 2020-21 that ended on June 30. The previous fiscal year’s exports were nearly $4 billion higher than in the year 2019-20, when they reached $21.4 billion. While exports have increased, the trade deficit also rose to $31 billion during 2020-21, compared with the deficit of $23.2 billion in the preceding fiscal year, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data released on Saturday.