News Details

Sri Lankan HC for enhancing trade with Pakistan

Sri Lanka

Food & Beverages

08-03-2021

Sri Lankan High Commissioner vice admiral (retd) Mohan Wijewickrama has said that his country is trying to enhance the volume of bilateral trade with Pakistan. Addressing the business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) here on Friday, the HC said that Sri Lanka was the second largest trade partner of Pakistan in South Asia. “Our potential was $2.5 billion but our bilateral trade was stuck up at only $388 million despite signing the Free Trade Agreement”, he added. He told that Sri Lankan exports to Pakistan were only $64 million and he intends to enhance it to a reasonable level. He said that Pakistan had inked its first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka providing duty free access to each other. He said that Pakistan imported 10 million tons of black tea under this agreement which reflects our close relations. About friendly relations between the two countries, he said that both countries share many commonalities, including terrorism threat.

 

“However, we successfully cooperated and reigned in this menace”, he said. Quoting the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Sri Lanka, he said that its ultimate objective was to enhance bilateral trade and he was visiting as its follow up to explore new opportunities of bilateral trade with a focused approach on economy, trade and tourism. He said that tourism was the real economic strength of Sri Lanka but only 18,000 to 20,000 Pakistani tourists visit Sri Lanka every year. He said that corona was almost over and we were now trying to encourage tourists from all over the world to visit and explore the natural beauty and serenity of Sri Lanka. He said that a Sri Lankan Tourism Centre had been established in Lahore which would offer best possible facilities to the Pakistani tourists. About the ill impacts of corona, he said that the Sri Lankan industrial sector immediately switched over to the pharmaceutical sector with manufacturing of antidote of COVID-19. He welcomed the announcement of FCCI president Ihtesham Javed to send a delegation to Sri Lanka but said that the corona situation was gradually improving and hopefully we would vaccinate 30 per cent of our population in March and the best suitable time to visit Sri Lanka would be after the month of Ramazan.

 

Earlier, welcoming the guests, FCCI president Ihtesham Javed said that the world was starting a new era after corona and we at the platform of FCCI were welcoming Sri Lankan High Commissioner. About Faisalabad, he said that it was the third major city of Pakistan. Geographically, it was situated in the heart of Pakistan from where we could visit any city of Pakistan within a few hours. “We could also dispatch our export consignments through sea ports in the South and through a well planned road network to China and landlocked Central Asian states in the North”, he added. He also appreciated the philanthropy of the business community and said that during protracted lockdown and smart lockdowns, no one remained without food due to the courtesy of the local business community. He said that Faisalabad recorded a phenomenal growth when global economies were contracting.

 

“Our businessmen learned to live with corona by exploiting modern tools of digital technologies and starting a new era of e-commerce”, he said. He also termed Faisalabad as an engine of job creation and revenue generation which also plays a pivotal role in national economy and textile exports. Engineer Ihtesham Javed said that he had earlier visited Sri Lanka twice while former Sri Lankan High Commissioner had also visited the FCCI. He said that Sri Lankan and Pakistani businessmen must join hands to launch joint ventures in the special economic zone of Faisalabad where most lucrative facilities were being offered for the repatriation of whole profit in addition to other tax exemptions. Engineer Ihtesham Javed announced that a FCCI delegation would visit Sri Lanka soon after the month of Ramazan.