Pakistan and Sri Lanka to increase bilateral trade

Colombo: Sri Lanka and Pakistan are taking initiative to take a boost on their bilateral trade from the current 325 million US dollars to 1 billion US dollar, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan said at the opening of the Pakistan Single Country Exhibition 2016 on Friday at the BMICH in Colombo.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka’s second largest trade partner in SAARC, unveiled its largest ever Single Country Expo to be held in South Asia in Colombo on 15 January.

The Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to Colombo is one of the most important bilateral events to take place between both countries in recent times, Minister said.

Both historic trading partners now aim for a US$ 1 billion annual trade turnover in the coming two to three year time-line, the Minister said adding that the agreements concluded during Prime Minister Sharif’s visit are welcome measures to speedily move towards that trade goal.

In addition to eight bilateral instruments another eight Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on promotion of Trade and Investment between the two countries were signed during the PM’s visit.

Minister Bathiudeen suggested enhancing the bilateral contracts through frequent exchange of delegations, discussions forums, and regular mutual country exhibitions such as the Single Country Exhibition.

Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region after India. Our historic Free Trade Agreement helped to strengthen bilateral trade but we strongly believe that there is great potential for further improvement.

South Korea has also offered to import copper worth Rs 6 billion annually from Baluchistan.

Ambassador Dr Song Jong hwan made this offer in separate meetings with Governor Baluchistan Mohammad Khan Achakzai and Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri on Friday.

Investors and the Korea Import Associ­ation would be infor­med about investment opportunities in the various sectors of the province.

South Korea has to spend more on freight for importing Chilean copper due to long distance between the two countries.

Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri assured that his government would extend all possible help and cooperation to Korean investors.

He also thanked the Korean ambassador for providing assistance worth $200,000 for rehabilitation of Awaran earthquake victims. He expressed the hope that Korean government arranges more training programs for officers of Baluchistan.

The ambassador discussed setting up of a steel mill in Chagai. Signing of a free trade agreement between Pakistan and Korea was also discussed as it would pave the way for Korean investment in Baluchistan.