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SL–Pak eye US $ 1bn annual trade turnover by 2019

18 January 2016 02:48 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In a bid to further strengthen economic ties, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are in the midst of paving the way to boost the annual trade turnover and aim to reach an ambitious target of US $ 1 billion by 2019.

Acknowledging that the present bilateral trade of US $ 354 million between both countries does not reflect the full trade potential, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen stressed it is imperative to initiate “focused” work to move forward.

“Among the ways of moving towards our US$ 1 billion trade goal is to enhance bilateral contacts through frequent exchange of delegations, discussions, forums and regularly conducting mutual country exhibitions. Our historic Free Trade Agreement helped to strengthen bilateral trade but we strongly believe that there is great potential for further improvement,” said Minister Bathiudden last week at the Pakistan Single Country Exhibition inauguration.
With the launch of the exhibition setting the stage for new bilateral trade and economic cooperation efforts, he expressed confidence in the event being the first of many to bring the two countries closer whilst allowing the realisation of new opportunities and potentials for the local import and retail business communities.
Reflecting similar sentiments, Pakistani Minister of Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan stated the expo is an avenue to strengthen trade and economic relations for mutual prosperity.

“The recent visit of our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reinforced our commitment to Sri Lanka in a strong way and we are now looking to expand our trade with Sri Lanka greatly,” expressed Khan.

Premier Sharif’s call to Sri Lanka is considered to be one of the most important bilateral events to take place between both countries in recent times. 

Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on promotion of Trade and Investment between the two nations were also signed during this visit. The Single Country expo unveiled in Colombo on 15 January is the largest by Pakistan to be held in South Asia that was facilitated with the direct backing of its government. Pakistan’s single country exhibition made its debut in the island nation in 2008, but was carried in a smaller scale.
Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region after India.
 
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