PM visit to Sri Lanka to further cement trade relations: SAARC-CCI

LAHORE:South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC-CCI) Iftikhar Ali Malik Monday said that two-day maiden visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Sri Lanka would further cement bilateral ties, specially trade and economic cooperation.

Talking to the media here, he said it was a good omen for the private sectors of both the countries that PM Imran Khan would also participate in a joint ‘Trade and Investment Conference’ aimed at promoting trade and investment between the two countries, followed by a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to enhance bilateral cooperation.

Iftikhar Malik, who remained actively associated with SAARC Chamber for the last three decades, said that current visit was poised to help strengthen relationship and enhance mutual cooperation in diverse fields. He said that current trade between both countries was not entirely encouraging but both had markets for each others primary products.

The SAARC chamber president observed that Pakistan was an important market for tea products, which also happened to be a top Sri Lankan export item, and Pakistan was also a significant importer of copra and rubber, both items were among important Sri Lankan exports.

Similarly, Sri Lanka was an important market for textile products, machinery, and pharmaceuticals along with other products that Pakistan recorded significant exports. He said there existed a huge trade potential between both countries if the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) was utilised properly.

Malik said that Pak companies have invested significantly in agriculture,information technology and construction sectors of Sri Lanka while it’s construction industry was growing rapidly creating huge demand of Pak cement. Pak private sector could also capture sugar export market in Sri Lanka which imported its 90 per cent sugar requirements.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment to SAARC and expressed the hope that the process of regional co-coordination would be allowed to move forward.