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KARACHI: Consul General of Sri Lanka Jagath Abeywarna has said that the promotion of trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the textile, leather and pharmaceutical sectors is possible. Sri Lankan buyers can import goods from Pakistan instead of Europe which will be quite beneficial.

Similarly, Pakistan can avoid additional shipping costs by importing products including tea from Sri Lanka.

He expressed these views during his visit to the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI). He further said that the trade between SAARC countries is only five percent which needs to be further increased.

He said that the time to import products from Sri Lanka is four days which could benefit both countries.

Abeywarna said that the bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan are very friendly and are expected to become stronger in the coming days.

The two countries are also enjoying excellent trade and diplomatic relations, but joint efforts are needed to promote bilateral trade, he added.

The CG said that the combined trade volume is US 400 million dollars, out of which Pakistan exports US 300 million dollars to Sri Lanka and US 100 million dollars from Sri Lanka to Pakistan.

He said that Sri Lankan major export items are tea and coconut which it exports to various countries and these items were exported to Pakistan worth US 11 million dollars in 2021 while the income from the tourism sector is US 3 million dollars.

KATI President Faraz-ur-Rehman said that both countries can avoid foreign exchange pressure by trading in local currency. Trade delegations should be formed to increase trade. In this regard, cooperation between the businessmen of the two countries is much needed.

He said that Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka among the SAARC countries. President KATI said that Pakistani products, especially pharmaceuticals, textiles and leather, have a wide scope in the Sri Lankan market. Likewise, there are opportunities for trade in Sri Lankan tea, tiles, etc. Joint efforts should be made for bilateral trade of goods which will increase trade volume.

Faraz-ur-Rehman said that the exchange of trade delegations between the two countries should be increased. KATI will fully cooperate in this regard.

KITE Limited CEO Zubair Chhaya said that both countries are going through a difficult period due to the global economic and political crisis. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are facing historic trade deficits and foreign exchange shortages. He said that the joint efforts of both countries to promote trade are the only development solution. In this regard, holding business-to-business meetings is very important.

Senior Vice President Nighat Awan, Vice President Muslim Mohamedi, former Presidents Gulzar Firoz, Fazale Jalil and other members were present on this occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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