The News - International, Pakistan
TDAP, Sri Lanka trade board to ink MoU
5 June 2007
KARACHI: The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, (TDAP) and the Sri Lanka Trade Development Board (SLTDB) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate rapid increase in trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
According to the TDAP here on Monday, the agreement was reached between the Chief Executive of TDAP Tariq Ikram and visiting Chairman of the SLTDB Brian Angunawela who met in Karachi. The high commissioner for Sri Lanka to Pakistan and the consul-general of Sri Lanka in Karachi, TDAP Secretary Naved Arif were also present on the occasion. They had wide-ranging discussions on trade development, investment opportunities, increasing exports and accelerating volumes of trade under the FTA signed by the two countries that became operative since July 2006. Both parties agreed that more progress was needed under the FTA to raise levels of trade beyond the modest $200 million a year achieved last year.
The growth has been at a slow pace under the FTA from the level of $154 million two years ago. New areas of cooperation were identified for development. In the gems and jewellery sector alone opportunities existed for collaboration in management and skills transfer and training, also for developing processes and manpower at Dazzle Park, Karachi, as a centre of excellence for cutting and polishing of precious stones, including importation of diamonds for value addition by cutting, polishing in Pakistan and then re-exporting to world markets.
Other opportunities for enhancing trade through exhibitions and fairs were to be strengthened further. It was pointed out that Sri Lanka in its strategy for 2008 expects to increase its exports for the next year from 10.3 percent to 15 percent with defined seven important production categories as thrust areas. It hopes to participate in seminars that can be conducted in Pakistan for raising awareness of the FTA between Pakistan and Sri Lanka to enhance the volume of trade between the two countries.
At the meeting an agreement, in principle, was struck to further the institutional relationship between the TDAP and the SLTDB with the signing of an MoU. The MoU between the two apex bodies of their respective countries will contribute to analysis of business conditions to facilitate trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, undertake joint marketing, settle disputes, disagreements about business transactions in the form of friendly consultations, mediation and arbitration.
It will establish and promote contacts of enterprise of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, expand opportunities of trade and investment, joint ventures and services, cooperation through events such as exhibitions, trade fairs, business missions and seminars. Both sides will exchange periodicals and publication, and facilitate mutual exchange of information on economy, business, technology and markets of their countries for increasing bilateral trade.