Jun 08, 2015 (LBO) – The newly appointed Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Syed Shakeel Hussain has expressed concerns over the decrease in trade between the two countries by 100 million US dollars, a statement said.
“This is a saddening thing, especially in the backdrop of a Free Trade Agreement existing between the two countries,” the High Commissioner said.
These comments were spoken at a meeting of members of the Sri Lanka – Pakistan Business Council (SLPBC) at the Ceylon Chamber, recently.
The trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan during the year 2014 stood at 350 million US dollars.
This is nearly a 100 million US dollar slide, the statement said compared to the trade exchange occurred in 2013.
The High Commissioner suggested that the SLPBC work it in two tiers to over come this issue.
“Firstly, issues relating to the existing FTA and Trade, Secondly, create a strong mechanism with stakeholders to mitigate and resolve issues and to promote investments.”
The statement also quoted President of the Sri Lanka – Pakistan Business Council Rohitha Thilakaratne saying that the existing potential between the two countries are not certainly tapped.
“Unfortunately as we discussed, the trade agreement that was signed between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is not giving the desired results. Instead of going upward, we are looking at a downward trend,”
“I think that is something that both countries will have to focus immediately and resolve,”
The statement added that numerous violations of the FTA even without consulting the bilateral partners have resulted Sri Lankan exports to Pakistan dropping down.
Thilakaratne also suggested in the statement that apart from commodity and goods trading, both countries should focus on investments and setting up ‘Joint Ventures’ in the areas of pharmaceuticals, leisure industry, construction material, sugar and niche sports goods market.
“Pakistan is the eleventh largest/most populous nation in the world but it is definitely not tapped. We need to raise the trade exchange to one billion US dollars; it is possible.” Thilakaratne further said.