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Sri Lanka, Pakistan seeks expanded trade ties after PM visit

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and Pakistan is hoping for expanded trade ties in the wake of a visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan, by making greater use of a free trade agreement, the Indian Ocean island’s envoy has said in Lahore.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan Mohan Wijewickrama, a retired Vice Admiral, had met the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said the current trade ties did not reflect the longstanding historical links.

Wijewickrama had invited Lahore to set up joint ventures and import more Sri Lanka tea.

LCCI Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said Pakistan and Sri Lanka had enjoyed strong relations historically, which dated back to the years when the two countries were created.

In 2018 the bilateral trade had peaked at 462 million dollars it had slipped to 389 million in 2019 dollars.

2019 Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka were worth 324 million dollars while its imports were worth 65 million dollars.

Exports to Sri Lanka consisted of woven cotton fabrics, cement, potato, pharmaceuticals, maize, and imports included vegetables, fibre board, natural rubber and copra.

“We hope that the recent visit of prime minister of Pakistan to Sri Lanka can turn into a strategic partnership,” Chaudhry was quoted as saying.

During meetings between the two prime ministers areas including tourism, education, defence, information technology and investment were discussed.

The LCCI vice-president mentioned that there was a considerable demand in Sri Lanka for products like light engineering goods, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, auto parts, industrial raw material and plastic goods. (Colombo/Mar05/2021)

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