Pakistan stresses on increase of business with Sri Lanka
Increased interaction through exchange of business delegations is required to fully realize the potential of trade joint ventures and possible investments in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Pakistan High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Ms. Seema Ilahi Baloch said addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council at the Board Room of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
"We have come a long way in the 20 years in the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council.
The Pakistan High Commissioner further said, Sri Lanka was the first country to sign a FTA with Pakistan. Under the Free Trade Agreement, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to offer preferential market access to each others' exports by granting tariff concessions.
Sri Lanka would be able to enjoy duty free market access on 206 products in the Pakistani market.
Pakistan, in return, would gain duty free access on 102 products in the Sri Lankan market," she added.
The overarching bilateral economic architecture between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is however, restricted only to trade in goods.
A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) including trade in services as well as investment promotion will boost trade between both countries.
It would be beneficial, both for Sri Lanka and for Pakistan to move forward on CEPA", the High Commissioner added.
"We need to urge the businessmen and traders to explore commercial opportunities especially in the non-traditional sectors which could be mutually beneficial for both the countries," she added.
There is a huge potential for increased trade in light engineering goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, processed goods, textiles, cement and clinker, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals, to name a few.
"The Free Trade Agreement has provisions which would facilitate enhanced trade.
It is also up to the business community to provide feedback to the respective governments and identify bottlenecks in the existing trade mechanism," she added.
"I am confident that with more Business-to-Business interactions including participation in trade fairs, single country exhibitions, know-how of market trends in Pakistan and Sri Lanka the commercial activity can be increased," she said.
We are a large market of over 160 million people.
The businessmen on our side and here need to explore the market we have to offer.
We need to take full advantage of the Free Trade Agreement, the Bilateral Investment Treaty, Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and more recently an agreement on Customs Cooperation, signed between our two countries.
Pakistan is keen to enhance trade with Sri Lanka and identify investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
But increased interaction through exchange of business delegations is required to fully realize the potential of trade, joint ventures and possible investments. The proximity between our two countries could be a valuable trade facilitator.
Sri Lanka News | Sundayobserver.lk