Sri Lankan exporters not exploiting Pakistan duty free deal

EconomyNext – Sri Lankan exporters are not making enough use of a free trade deal with Pakistan that allows duty free access to several products, an economist told a forum on relations between the two countries.

The two nations developed close military ties during the island’s ethnic war but need to expand economic and cultural relations, a statement from the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo said.

Saman Kelegama, Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, a Sri Lankan think-tank, urged Sri Lankan exporters to further diversify exports to Pakistan in order to gain maximum benefit from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

Kelegama noted that even though Pakistan had allowed Sri Lanka to export 156 goods without any tariff, Sri Lanka exports only 35 goods out of these tariff-free goods.

However, he noted that bilateral trade between the two countries had expanded over the last decade after the FTA, signed in 2002, came in to effect from 2005.

The international seminar on historical, economic, military and cultural links between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was held by he High Commission of Pakistan in collaboration with Society of Civilizations Pakistan (SOC).

A paper by retired Pakistani army general, Ayaz Ahmad, said Pakistan provided weapons and training to the Sri Lankan armed forces during the war with Tamil Tiger separatists.


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