n a bid to increase bilateral trade and utilise the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between business councils of Pakistan ans Sri Lanka recently on the sidelines of Pakistan’s first textile exhibition TEXPO-2016 in Karachi.
The MoU was signed by Rohita Thilakaratne, President of Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Khalil Naseer, Chairman of the Council established under the umbrella of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
The Sri Lankan minister, who is heading a 15-member delegation to take part in TEXPO-2016, said that both the countries have enjoyed strong economic ties since many years.
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The signing ceremony was witnessed by Sri Lanka Industries Minister Rishad Badhiutheen, FPCCI President Abdul Rauf Alam, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chief Executive SM Muneer, among other prominent businessmen from Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
TDAP chief executive urged the FPCCI to adopt a practical approach to explore the benefits of the FTA for enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries.
Pakistan is the the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in South Asia, apart from being the eighth largest exporter of textile in Asia. There is a strong need for exchange of delegations to promote trade between the two countries. Pakistan also enjoys the GSP Plus status with the European Union that contributes adequately to enhance growth in the textile sector.
At the time of signing the FTA in 2005, Sri Lankan exports to Pakistan amounted to around US $40 million, while imports from Pakistan were US $108 million. In 2015, the volume of export and imports of Sri Lanka with Pakistan increased to US $73 million and US$297 million, respectively.