Pakistan, Sri Lanka to revive trade talks

Published February 21, 2021
In this file photo, visitors buy cloth at the first three-day exhibition of Pakistani products in Colombo. — INP
In this file photo, visitors buy cloth at the first three-day exhibition of Pakistani products in Colombo. — INP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka have agreed to reactivate the Joint Working Group (JWG) for redressal of technical issues pending between the two trading partners, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) said on Saturday.

The understanding was reached during the seventh session of commerce secretaries level talks between the two countries. The virtual meeting was held on Feb 18, ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka on Feb 23-24.

An official announcement said it was decided to conduct the next JWG meeting during the first half of 2021. The two sides further agreed to enhance cooperation in trade-related matters so that the true potential of the Free Trade Agreement could be effectively exploited.

The Pakistani delegation was led by MoC Special Secretary Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput while the Sri Lankan side was represented by Ministry of Trade Secretary JM Bhadranie Jayawardhana.

The delegates engaged in productive and meaningful discussions on strengthening trade ties and resolving issues impeding trade. Prospects of enhancing trade through mutual cooperation and facilitation were also discussed, the MoC announcement said.

The secretaries emphasised on the need to use this forum to further strengthen the existing bilateral trade and investment linkages and expressed their commitment to enhance trade relations by removing various impediments.

The secretaries agreed to the text of Memorandum of Understanding in the field of investment and resolved that it will usher new avenues of bilateral investment. The meeting concluded with the commitment to expand and cement bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The Sri Lankan side acknowledged that Pakistan has been a long-standing trading partner, a closer ally and the country was eagerly looking forward to the upcoming visit of the Pakistani premier to Colombo, the announcement added.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2021

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