Sri Lanka today noted the importance of defence ties with Pakistan. The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan Major General (r) Jayanath Lokukatagodage said Sri Lanka was keen to promote trade with Pakistan as enhanced trade would help in improving living standards of the people of both countries.
This he said while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
Jayanath said Pakistan was the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in South Asia and there were numerous fields in which both countries could develop mutual collaboration, a statement issued here said.
He said Sri Lanka had introduced liberalized investment regime and free of charge land was offered to foreign investors for investment in specific sectors.
He said Sri Lanka could be considered as one of the most attractive investment destinations in South-East Asia region due to its resilient economy, supportive government policies, educated and adaptable workforce, access to key markets, fast developing infrastructure and vibrant business environment.
He urged Pakistani investors to explore Sri Lanka for investment opportunities.
He said Pakistan was providing important defence cooperation to Sri Lanka and added that agriculture and tourism had good potential for bilateral cooperation.
He said both countries should focus on organizing trade fairs on reciprocal basis to boost up trade.
He said the ICCI should take a business delegation to Sri Lanka and assured that his embassy would provide all necessary cooperation to make its visit successful.
Speaking at the occasion, Acting President ICCI Khalid Malik said Sri Lanka was the first country with which Pakistan had signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2005, but bilateral trade of around US$ 325 million was negligible.
He said both countries should give enhanced role to private sectors for improving trade volume.
He said Pakistan was exporting cement, pharmaceuticals, textiles, bed wear, vegetables and rice to Sri Lanka while its many other products including IT, handicrafts, leather products, surgical items could capture good share in Sri Lankan market.
He urged Sri Lankan investors to take active part in CPEC that offered huge investment opportunities to foreign investors.
He said Sri Lankan tea had a good future in Pakistan and assured that the ICCI would consider taking a trade mission to Sri Lanka to explore new areas of mutual cooperation between the private sectors of both countries.
Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Zubair Ahmed Malik, Naeem Siddiqui, Khalid Chaudhry, Amin ur Rehman, Shiraz Ahmed Siddiqui, Raja Abdul Majeed, Nasira Ali and others were also present at the occasion. (Colombo Gazette)