Bridging Lanka-Pakistan trade imbalance needed


Colombo, Jan. 13 (TNS): Pakistan’s Minister for Commerce Mohammad Pervaiz Malik  emphasised the need to bridge the imbalance in the trade volume between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Lankan media reported on Saturday.

He said that unfortunately the present trade volume of around USD 350 million did not reflect the true potential that exists between the two countries.

The Pakistani Minister was delivering his welcome remarks at the inauguration of the Third Edition of Pakistan Single Country Exhibition at the BMICH yesterday.

“For Pakistan, Sri Lanka is among the top focus countries for greater trade relations. Despite the availability of tariff concessions, the bilateral trade is still limited to a very narrow brand of products and there is very little diversification,” Minister Malik said. He highlighted that Pakistan is one of the rapidly emerging world economies with a friendly business environment created by the current government through policies aimed at achieving micro-economic stability in the country.

He said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have excellent diplomatic and economic relations and added that the Free Trade Agreement manifest the trust that two countries have in the economic potential of each other.

The Minister said that during the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to Pakistan, both leaders agreed to increase the bilateral trade to USD 1 Billion.

“Increasing bilateral trade to USD 1 Billion might seem ambitious but with sustained efforts and spirit of cooperation, I am confident its not beyond us,” the PakistanCommerce Minister said.

“The world is on a fast path of integration and the regions need to integrate better,” he said.

He further pointed out that trade among SAARC countries is less than 5 percent of the total trade and which it self is a strong reflection of the world trade.

“Pakistan and Sri Lanka have to play a major role to see our region integrate for the socioeconomic improvement of our people,” he said.

He expressed the hope that such events would set the foundations for greater people to people connectivity and mutual economic growth.