In order to invigorate efforts to reach the target of $ 1 billion in trade by 2018, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to redouble trade promotion efforts during the fifth Sri Lanka-Pakistan Foreign Office Consultations held on Tuesday in Colombo, after a lapse of three years.
In this regard, the second edition of the Pakistan Single Country Exhibition held in Colombo and Sri Lanka’s participation consisting of a pavilion of 20 exhibitors at Expo Pakistan in November 2017 in Karachi with ‘Guest Country Status’ were discussed.
Foreign Secretaries Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka and Tehmina Janjua of Pakistan co-chaired the meeting.
A wide range of issues reflecting the multifaceted nature of cooperation between the two countries were discussed during the meeting. These included trade and investment, tourism, science and technology, education, immigration, defence, sports and the ways and means of deepening bilateral relations and overcoming impediments for strengthening collaboration further. The ongoing close cooperation between the parliamentarians of the two countries was noted as a means for further enhancing bilateral cooperation and people-to-people contact.
Investment opportunities available under the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) explored and the issues that impede its maximum potential were discussed with a view to promoting more trade and investment under the provisions of the PSFTA.
It was noted that the Advisory Committee established by the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council to study trade-related issues under the PSFTA and formulate a strategy to improve exports under the agreement, is an appropriate and timely initiative. The means to utilising credit line facilities offered by Pakistan in priority projects in areas such as housing, livestock and science and technology were discussed as well.
The ongoing close defence cooperation between the two countries, in particular the training requirements of the armed forces, was reviewed for further strengthening. Immigration procedures between the two countries were discussed with a view to streamlining processes to avoid bottlenecks and misuse.
It was agreed that the Joint Working Group (JWG) will meet soon with a view to assessing progress and providing the impetus for the implementation of MoUs and agreements as well as other areas of cooperation including in education, sports and science and technology.