Consul General of Sri Lanka in Karachi G. L. Gnanatheva advised businessmen, exporters and members of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business Council of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) to conduct a comparative study on tariffs levied on various products to resolve grievances.
Gnanatheva said traders of both countries should explore more varied sectors to increase the bilateral trade to its true potential. He also emphasised the need to scale up cooperation in the IT sector. The foreign envoy also asked for tea and rubber related joint ventures.
Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka amounted to $315 million in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. The bilateral trade continued to show a downward trend despite a bilateral free trade agreement. According to an estimate, bilateral trade can reach $3 billion if impediments to the implementation of the free trade agreement are removed.
The FTA between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was signed in August 2002 and came into effect in July 2005. The terms of the FTA were comprehensive and granted 100 per cent immediate concessions to Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s major export products.
Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka reached $238 million in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, while Sri Lanka’s exports to Pakistan stood at $77 million, leading to a trade surplus of $161 million in Pakistan’s favour. Both sides are rendering efforts to reactivate joint working groups to resolve issues.
FPCCI President Naser Hayat said the apex trade body is committed to helping business, industrial, and trade communities to capitalize on relations and geographical proximity with Sri Lanka and grow their businesses rapidly.