January 20, 2022 (MLN): Pakistan Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) has contributed moderately to the enhancement of bilateral trade volume therefore the real potential of bilateral trade is still required to be achieved, Sri Lankan Minister of Trade Dr Bandula Gunawardhane stated during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), said a press release issued today.
He added that exports to Pakistan reached US$74 million, of which US$53 million worth of exports or 73 percent took place under PSFTA in 2020.
Pakistan was the only market for Sri Lankan betel leaves which is mostly associated with the income of the rural population of Sri Lanka.
“We are hopeful that the Pakistani government will soon do away with the regulatory duty which adversely impacted the export of betel leaves from Sri Lanka”, he noted.
He pointed out that on the trade front, Pakistan has been a long-standing partner and a close ally of Sri Lanka. In the mid-70s, Pakistan was the largest buyer of Sri Lanka, accounting for 8 percent of Sri Lanka’s total exports due to the high intake of Ceylon tea.
Today, Pakistan is the second-largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region. “Sri Lanka Pakistan economic cooperation needs to be performing well than in the present context. Therefore, let us join hands for better economic ties between the two countries for greater economic issues”, he added.
He hoped that the business visit of the Sri Lankan delegation will certainly pave way for further strengthening of friendly and cordial relations and take them to new heights in the areas of trade, investment and tourism, besides imparting much-needed impetus to guide the growth dynamics of bilateral relations.
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