Pakistan’s president seeks barter trade with Sri Lanka

November 29, 2010 (AFP) – Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari called for a barter agreement with Sri Lanka on Monday to boost trade between the two countries. Zardari, on a visit to the island, told legislators that they should switch to exchanging their goods and services rather than depend on dollar-denominated import-export trade that drew on foreign reserves.

“If you have anything in abundance we can trade (with that),” Zardari told the Sri Lanka-Pakistan parliamentary friendship association. “We have an abundance of cement, you have tea and other commodities that we can exchange.”

Zardari, who arrived in Colombo Saturday, held closed-door talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and discussed increasing trade and defence cooperation, the Sri Lankan president’s office said Monday.

It gave no details of the defence cooperation, but Pakistan was a main supplier of arms and ammunition when government forces were locked in combat with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Pakistan provided heavy weapons that were used to crush the Tigers in May last year which brought an end to their 37-year violent struggle for a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka.

Trade between