Sri Lanka Pakistan CEPA talks in August: report

July 6, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka and Pakistan will have talks on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) to broaden economic links in August in Colombo, a media report in the wake of annual trade talks in Islamabad said. Sri Lanka’s commerce minister Rishad Bathiudeen and Pakistan’s state minister for foreign and economic affairs Hina Rabbani Khar led delegation for the 10th session of Sri Lanka Pakistan Joint Economic Commission in July 04 and 05.

The delegations had agreed to review visa procedures to make it easier for businessmen to visit each other’s country for trade exhibitions, Pakistan’s Daily Times newspaper said.

Pakistan’s finance ministry and the State Bank of Pakistan would also clarify procedures to kick start the draw-down of a 200 million trade credit facility offered to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan had signed a free trade agreement five years ago but a large negative list stood in the way of increasing higher trade volumes. Bilateral trade was now 338 million US dollars up from less than 100 million dollars five years ago, the report quoted Pakistani officials as saying.

In August talks would be held in Colombo to review the free trade deal and negotiate a CEPA.