Sri Lankan Minister to lead trade delegation to Pakistan
Daily FT: Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena is to lead a business delegation to Pakistan in January to boost bilateral ties.
Consul General of Sri Lanka Jagath Abeywarna had said that the Sri Lankan Trade Minister will be bringing a delegation comprising representatives of around 40 to 50 companies to Karachi and Islamabad on 23 January 2022 to explore more avenues of cooperation and collaboration with the business community of Pakistan.
“The Sri Lankan delegation will explore the possibility of enhancing trade and investment ties with Pakistani counterparts, besides exploring tourism opportunities available in Pakistan. Most of the Sri Lankan tourists, who have been regularly visiting India and Nepal, were not much aware of the historical Buddhist sites in Pakistan,” he added, while exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), said a statement issued on Thursday.
KCCI President Muhammad Idrees, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain, Diplomatic Missions and Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Chairman Ziaul Arfeen, former President Majyd Aziz, former Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan and KCCI Managing Committee Members also attended the meeting.
The Sri Lankan Consul General sought KCCI’s cooperation in arranging B2B meetings during the visit of the Sri Lankan delegation. “It is going to be a main activity as we haven’t received such a big delegation to Pakistan since long.”
He also advised KCCI to arrange a similar delegation to Sri Lanka as exchange of trade delegations was the only way to improve trade and investment ties. He was of the view that there is a lot of potential for two-way trade and investment ties between the two friendly countries.
“As Pakistan has very strong pharmaceutical and textiles industries, these can be exported to Sri Lanka as we import almost all types of pharmaceutical products and fabrics.”
He said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are friendly nations who have been supporting each other in difficult situations. During the civil war in Sri Lanka, Pakistan was one of the main countries which provided assistance to Sri Lanka.
He assured that they will look into the possibility of inviting a maximum number of Sri Lankan companies to participate in My Karachi Exhibition which was scheduled to be organised at Karachi Expo Centre from 11 to 13 February 2022.
KCCI President Muhammad Idrees, in his remarks, assured that the Karachi Chamber would warmly welcome and fully facilitate Sri Lankan delegation during their forthcoming visit to Karachi by organising B2B meetings.
He pointed out that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been enjoying very cordial relations for many years. “Pakistan was the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in South Asia and we hope to become the first largest.”
He noted that during 2020, goods exported by Pakistan to Sri Lanka totalled US$ 324.7 million while goods imported by Pakistan from Sri Lanka were recorded at US$ 78.9 million. “The real trade potential was much higher than what the current statistics reveal and we are determined to unlock this potential through combined efforts and close coordination with the Sri Lankan side.”
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