FTA to help promote Pak, Lanka trade ties

The News - International, Pakistan

FTA to help promote Pak, Lanka trade ties

2 May 2007

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka have great potential to expand their trade relations which will be supplemented by the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. This was stated by Dr S B Dorakunbura, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan, at a meeting with Tanvir Ahmad Sheikh President, FPCCI, at the Federation House, Karachi, on Saturday.

The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka said that FTA between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will go a long way in the promotion of bilateral trade and economic relations which will increase manifold the present volume of trade between the two countries. Presently the trade volume is in favour of Pakistan which is likely to be balanced through FTA.

He informed that the FTA between Sri Lanka and India has increased the volume of trade to US$2 billion, which is a record improvement. He said that presently Sri Lanka has been importing textiles from India and Pakistan for value addition in the form of ready made garments, which are being exported to European countries under GSP Plus scheme.

He said Pakistan can have a major share in export of Sri Lankan garments to Europe and the USA under GSP Plus scheme by making investments in Sri Lanka either with 100 percent equity or through joint ventures.

He informed that there is no restriction on repatriation of foreign exchange from Sri Lanka. He said Sri Lanka has an excellent infrastructure with skilled labour and economical utility charges.

He said Pakistan has expertise in construction of bridges, roads and other infrastructure and therefore advised the Pakistani companies to participate in the construction sector of Sri Lanka through tenders which are invited from the foreign companies.

Earlier, President FPCCI, welcoming the High Commissioner briefed him about the activities of FPCCI and suggested for aggressive marketing of Sri Lanka commodities in Pakistan particularly in the service sector in Medical Tourism. He said Pakistan and Sri Lanka complemented each other in various sectors particularly in tourism, pharmaceutical, ready made garments etc, while Sri Lanka is a potential market for Pakistani rice, fruits, leather, surgical and sports goods etc.

He appreciated the literacy rate of Sri Lanka which is almost 92.07 percent. He said under SAFTA and particularly FTA between the two SAARC countries the region will not only promote bilateral trade but also contribute in promotion of intra-regional trade.

Zubair Tufail Vice President, FPCCI, who was also present at the meeting, said Sri Lanka should aggressively market its tea which was earlier exporting 60percent to the Pakistani market. He emphasized on the need of frequent exchange of delegations and holding of exhibitions in each other countries.

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