The Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council (SLPBC) recently hosted a meeting with a team from Pakistan, under the leadership of Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Federation Minister for Commerce and Textile of Pakistan.
Also present were several distinguished invitees from public and private sector organizations who contributed to the discussions in a meaningful way. The chief economist of the Ceylon Chamber presented some facts and figures on export trends to Pakistan, before and after the introduction of FTAs, and suggested ways to improve trade for both sides.
At the outset the Pakistani Minister for Commerce and Textiles expressed his delight in the success of the third single country exhibition. He also extended an invitation to the SLPBC to bring a delegation or exhibition which can help the objective of increasing trade of Sri Lankan goods in Pakistan. He said these are important ways in which neighborhood nations can do better and help each other.
The purpose of the meeting was to have open discussion on the issues facing both exporters from Sri Lanka and importers in Pakistan. The President of the Sri Lanka Pakistan Council opened the discussion by drawing attention to some of the issues, or hindrances facing exporters, such as improper use of FTAs, the recent slump in exports of Betel products to Pakistan, the agreement between the two countries on the import of basmathi and the issues that have come up regarding the agreement, non-tariff barriers, and finally, recent problem relating to the phytosanitary relating regulations
Members of both teams stressed the cordial and age-old relationship between the two countries, and agreed that the relationship should be converted into tangible business.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are old friends; there is a very warm relationship that is going on, therefore on that basis there was license for members of both teams to be both open and honest in their comments, with a view to finding meaningful solutions.
The meeting ended on a very positive note, when the minister assured that when he gets back he will look into the matters mentioned, and that they would do all within their power to ensure that solutions which are workable, viable, and trust worthy, so that all parties in a win-win situation.