Consul General of Sri Lanka Jagath Abeywarna mentioned that despite 75 years of good diplomatic relations and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since 2005, Sri Lanka-Pakistan trade volume remains ‘insignificant’ at US $440 million due to certain barriers preventing trade between both sides.
“Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka stood at $360 million, and Sri Lankan exports remained at $80 million. To enhance this trade, the FTA has to be revisited, and a mechanism must be devised to facilitate transactions between exporters and importers of both countries facing a dire shortage of foreign currency. As we both are going through a difficult economic situation, hence, we have to help each other,” he said during a meeting at his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
“Pakistan was the number one buyer of Sri Lankan products, particularly Ceylon tea, which, unfortunately, is no longer being exported to Pakistan as the importers here are now importing tea from Kenya and other countries,” he said.
He highlighted that collaboration between the private sectors through participation in trade fairs and regular exchanges of trade delegations is essential to achieving the common goal of improved trade ties. “Several sectors can promote trade between the two countries, including pharmaceuticals, fabrics, leather, etc., which are being imported by Sri Lanka. We can also provide construction materials, ceramics, false ceilings, cosmetics, rubber-based products, and agricultural products to Pakistan,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2023.
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