A trade deal with Pakistan and the tsunami could spur foreign investment to US$ 400 mn levels this year.

Trade agreements with Pakistan and India could spur foreign investment this year, largely in the manufacturing sector, the Board of Investment says. Trade agreements with Pakistan and India could spur foreign investment this year, largely in the manufacturing sector, the Board of Investment says.

“There are two main things that will guide investments this year – the tsunami and the Lanka-Pakistan FTA, which will also have an effect on cross border trade between India and Pakistan,” BOI Chief Saliya Wickramasuriya said.

Indian manufacturing facilities such as for agricultural machinery, electronic items, even solid tyres, are expected to set up here to take advantage of a recent free trade deal inked between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The potential Pakistani market size for goods originating here is about 200 mn consumers, the BOI says.

Sri Lanka getting duty free access to the European Union under its GSP plus Scheme in July this year also ups its attractiveness as an investment destination for companies trying to capitalise on the benefit.

The Pakistan-Lanka Free Trade Agreement is to become operational by May or June this yea