ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: Sri Lanka has asked Pakistani pharma companies to invest in a venture being established there, as Sri Lanka is planning to set up an industrial park for pharmaceutical industry.

“Pakistani pharma investors should explore possibilities of establishing joint ventures in that facility in Sri Lanka,” Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Jayalath Weerakkody, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan said here on Wednesday.

He said that textiles and tourism are also potential areas of cooperation between the two countries. Sri Lanka also offers cheap and well trained manpower, he said.

During his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with Rohita Thilakaratne, President, Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business Council, Jayalath Weerakkody exchanged views with business community on prospects of further improving trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Mr Thilakaratne said that by making investment in Sri Lanka, Pakistani entrepreneurs would be able to export their products to Indian market and earn substantial profit as Sri Lanka and India are exchanging 110 flights in a week.

The business community was informed that presently there are only seven flights from Karachi to Colombo every week and the national flag carrier of Sri Lanka was planning to start three flights every week from Lahore to Colombo to facilitate trade promotion.

ICCI President Zafar Bakhtawari said that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was still less than half a billion US dollars, which was quite low as compared to the available potential.

He said that both the countries should accelerate efforts to take bilateral trade to at least $1billion as Pakistan and Sri Lanka have the ability to complement each other’s economy.

“We need to encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations and connect private sectors for exploring new areas of mutual cooperation,” he added.

The ICCI members suggested that Pakistan and Sri Lanka should enhance frequency of air flights and proposed that there should be at least one flight from Islamabad to Colombo per week to establish direct air link between the two capitals.

They called upon the trade promotion agencies of both the countries to facilitate businessmen in holding single country exhibitions to improve trade.

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