May 20, 2019
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    Sri Lankan exports to Pakistan in the region of $ 80-90 mn

    February 16, 2019

    The 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) was held recently electing Azmy Mohideen, Chief Executive Officer of Lanka Commodity Holdings as the President. The Chief Guest being the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan, Janzab Khan.The President elect, Mohideen said, “ During his tenure as President, Rohitha, as stated by him, was instrumental in setting up the Stake Holders Committee comprising of a cross section of business personals, officials of government institutions like the Sri Lanka Customs, the EDB, BOI, State Pharmaceutical Corporation, to sit at one table to discuss business related issues, and fine-tuning the way forward.

    He said The Pakistan High Commission has always been very supportive and cooperative to them and he certainly looked forward to working with them very closely in performing their role as facilitators of trade between the two countries as we pursue towards achieving the magical one billion dollar bilateral trade target.“We are near the 50% mark now from the previous year’s 350 million. But unfortunately the Sri Lankan exports are only about $ 80-90 million of that.

    That is indeed a sad story, of course we are talking of a big brother with 250 220 million people, but with diplomats like Khan there, I’m sure we can achieve our target. Nothing is unachievable; we can do it, with the support of the high commission and our Pakistani counterparts to move forward. “He said Sri Lanka’s trade relations were not where they should be. Despite the FTA, the level of bilateral trade hovers around 300 to 400 billion dollars annually which is about 40%, of the target.

    On the administrative side business visas, cost of travel has emerged as an obstacle in the enhancement of the trade.As the President just highlighted, the fact that the business visa issue has greatly reduced, however the flight, travelling fare is relatively high.As you would see at the end of my talk, there would be some suggestions out of the box, and if appropriately addressed and engaged I assure you this Council in itself would become, most probably, the most economically viable group of people in Sri Lanka.

    Pakistan-Sri Lanka FTA has to be updated there is no doubt, both its scope and coverage.There is need to have more tariff lines, doing away with tariff trade questions and addition of services, investment, dispute mechanism is jeopardizing. Both countries are talking of these issues but the pace has to be enhanced, he cautioned.

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