The Federal Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan called on Sri Lankan President Hon. Maithripala Sirisena at President’s Secretariat last evening.
The Minister for Commerce was accompanied by High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain, Deputy High Commissioner Dr. Sarfraz Sipra and Director Ahsan Riaz Chaodhry. The Sri Lankan Minister for Industry and Commerce, Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen, Sri Lankan Secretary Commerce and Industry T. M. K. B. Tennakoon and other high ranking officials were also present during the call.
The Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan conveyed the message of goodwill from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to the Sri Lankan President.
The Minister said that HE Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015 was a testimony of the durability of Pak Sri Lanka relationship and its immunity to the political changes in two countries.
Minister Khurram Dastgir said that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Sri Lanka, in both bilateral and regional context and there is a strong political will in Pakistan to further develop and promote these relations. He expressed satisfaction over the process of consolidating friendly and cooperative relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He also commended the bold and admirable steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to promote reconciliation and national unity and termed them a new beginning.
Expressing gratitude for Sri Lanka’s support to Pakistan’s candidature for the non-permanent seat of the UNSC for the term 2012-13, and UNHRC seat for the term 2013-15, he expressed the hope that the excellent level of cooperation between the two friendly countries will continue in the future.
Recalling the visit and understandings reached during of Sri Lankan President to Pakistan in April 2015 he said that he has come with a strong commercial delegation from Pakistan to take bilateral commercial relationship to the next higher level.
The Minister underscored the need to re-double efforts to achieve bilateral trade target of US$ 1 billion in the near future by enhancing existing commercial ties with further increase in bilateral trade and investments giving new boost to the bilateral FTA.
President Maithripala Sirisena said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always maintained close, cordial and mutually supportive relations which are broad-based and multifaceted.
While thanking the Government of Pakistan for its unwavering support in their fight against terrorism, President Sirisena said that Pakistan had played a decisive role in helping consolidate the integrity of Sri Lanka. He also expressed his gratitude for the support extended by Pakistan to the Government of Sri Lanka at the international and regional forums.
President Maithripala Sirisena invited Pakistani investors and business community to make use of highly liberalized economic policies of Sri Lanka to enhance bi-lateral trade relations.
Earlier, the Commerce Minister attended the bilateral trade meeting between Sri Lanka and Pakistan held in Colombo. While addressing the meeting the Minister said that friendship between the two countries should now transform into a deep and longstanding economic partnership.
Elaborating the challenges arisen in the form of mega regional trade agreements such as recent Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Minister Khurram Dastgir highlighted the need to deepen Pak Sri Lankan bilateral engagement by concluding bilateral arrangements and setting up joint ventures to avoid markets being taken over by competitors.
While highlighting potential of Sri Lanka to open trade doors for Pakistan in the East Asian Khurram Dastgir Khan offered Pakistan confluence of being able to give access to Sri Lanka for South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia.
High Commissioner of Pakistan Maj Gen. Syed Shakeel Hussain, Deputy High Commissioner Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra, Pakistani Commerce officials and several Pakistani business delegates accompanying the Minister in the bilateral trade talks with Sri Lankan side lead by Minister for Commerce and Industry Rishad Bathiudeen. (Pakistan High Commission Colombo)