Pakistan, Sri Lanka agree to activate Joint Working Groups to boost trade

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 01:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Daily Times: Pakistan and Sri Lanka had agreed to reactivate the forum of Joint Working Groups (JWGs) for redressal of technical issues pending between the two trading partners for prompting trade liberalisation to increase bilateral trade between both of the countries.

It was decided to conduct the next JWG meeting during the first half of 2021, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce here on Saturday.

The seventh Session of Commerce Secretaries Level Talks, hosted by Pakistan, were held virtually in Islamabad between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where the delegates from both sides engaged in productive and meaningful discussions on strengthening trade ties and resolving issues impeding trade.

From Pakistan’s side the delegation was led by Ministry of Commerce Special Secretary Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput, while Ministry of Trade Secretary J.M. Bhadranie Jayawardhana steered the Sri Lankan side.

Both 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 Secretaries of the two sides agreed to the text of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 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 relationships between the two countries. The Sri Lankan side acknowledged that Pakistan has been a long standing trading partner, a closer ally and shared that Sri Lanka is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Colombo.

Prospects of enhancing trade through mutual cooperation and facilitation were also discussed.

The heads of the two delegations emphasised on the need to use this forum to further strengthen the existing bilateral trade and investment linkages between the two countries and they also expressed their commitment to enhance trade relations by removing various impediments.

A meeting was held under the chairmanship of Provincial Minister for Industries and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal in which the performance of Punjab Small Industries Corporation, the objectives achieved and the future course of action was reviewed.

Managing Director PSIC Jameel Ahmed Jameel gave a detailed briefing on the progress and future priorities of Punjab Rozgaar Scheme. Provincial Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal while addressing the meeting said that provision of easy loans under Punjab Rozgar Scheme will start next week. Easy loans ranging from Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 10 million were being provided to the applicants under the Scheme.

He said that Punjab Rozgaar Scheme worth more than Rs. 30 billion has been launched as per the vision of the Prime Minister to provide employment and more than 1.6 million people will get employment under this scheme, the Provincial Minister said, adding that the Punjab Rozgar Scheme will provide resources to the skilled youth to start their own businesses. Loans is being provided to corona affected businesses on priority basis.

Provincial Minister directed to ensure unavailable facilities in small industrial estates, the provincial minister said that PSIC should prepare a comprehensive presentation on the targets achieved during the last two and a half years and the employment opportunities created. 

He also directed that PSIC and TEVTA should work together for the improvement of five to six industrial clusters, development of business incubation centre and provision of loans to the skilled and passed out trainees of TEVTA through Punjab Rozgaar Scheme.

He directed that PSIC should prepare self-sustainable model. Secretary Industries and Commerce Wasif Khurshid, CEO Punjab Board of Investment, TEVTA officials besides concerned officers attended the meeting.