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Sri Lanka to recapture tea market in Pakistan

October 24, 2007

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 23: Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr W.B Dorakumbure said on Tuesday Colombo was trying to recapture the lost market for tea in Pakistan under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) now in operation between the two countries.

While Pakistan must exploit Sri Lanka’s need for textiles, yarn, fabric, rice, fruits, leather, surgical and sports equipment, the envoy stated this in a meeting with members of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

Mr Dorakumbure said Pakistan and Sri Lanka had great potential to expand their trade relations, which will be supplemented by the FTA between the two countries.

The high commissioner suggested that Pakistan could enhance its exports to European countries by using the trade route that passes through Sri Lanka.

He added that free trade agreement between Pakistan and Sri Lanka would go a long way in increasing manifold the present volume of trade between the two countries.

He informed the ICI members that there was no restriction on transfer of foreign exchange from Sri Lanka and the country has an excellent infrastructure with skilled labour and economic utility charges.

He advised the Pakistani companies to participate in the construction sector of Sri Lanka through tenders, which are invited from the foreign companies. Sri Lanka has best environment for Pakistani investors for setting up hospitals, build roads, power units and other industries and services.

The envoy said Sri Lanka and Pakistan enjoyed the most cordial and unbreakable relations since the days of independence, which can be further strengthened through increase in bilateral trade, enhanced exchange of delegations and people to people contacts.

Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Nasir Khan called for expansion of FTA to include services and investment.

“We must also include some SME related products and engineering goods in our trade to give real buoyancy to our trade relations,” he added.

He emphasized the need for frequent exchange of delegations and holding of exhibitions in each other countries.