Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement opens new avenues for business community of both countries

Karachi: Free Trade Agreement FTA between Pakistan and Sri Lanka implemented in year 2005 has opened new avenues for business communities of both countries to expand trade and economic activities utilizing tariff concession being granted to import goods of each other’s country.

Except for few products categories, over 4000 products are eligible for trade under FTA, Sri Lanka Consul General in Karachi D.W. Jinadasa said Monday. Pakistan is second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in SAARC region after India. Value of bilateral trade increased from $158 million in year 2005 to over $350 million in 2010 covering wide range of products including new which indicates potential that exists, he noted.

He said Sri Lanka’s exports to Pakistan include rubber, rubber-based products, coconut and coconut products, betel leaves, tea, pineapple, spices, dried fish, electric switches and sockets, porcelain tableware, ceramic tiles, furniture, fibre board of wood, herbal cosmetic products, plastic articles. Major Pakistan export items to Sri Lanka include cotton, textiles, rice, cement, steel pipes, potatoes, fruits, medicaments, electrical machines & apparatus etc. Trade balance is in favour of Pakistan.

Jinadasa said in joint ventures and investment, both countries are yet to exploit their full potential. Pakistan’s investment in Sri Lanka at present is at a moderate level. There are about 25 projects undertaken by Pakistan investors in chemicals, petroleum, rubber, plastic, textile wearing apparel, leather products, food, beverages, tobacco etc. There is an increasing interest among Pakistani investors in Sri Lanka for investments in different fields including agriculture, textiles and garments manufacturing, real estate developments, tourism, hotel projects, IT & related services.

Consul General said Sri Lanka Expo 2012 – a mega international trade exhibition in Colombo from March 28-30, 2012 will be good platform for business community of two countries to explore new opportunities in trade and investment. It will be a unique opportunity for Pakistani businessmen, investors and representatives in tourism industry to establish contacts with Sri Lanka partners. A symposium on investment & tourism will be held parallel to the Exhibition.

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