Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy extremely cordial relations and these ties should be developed further. These views were expressed by Sri Lankan Consul General D.W. Jinadasa at a meeting held to give details about Sri Lanka Expo2012.
Jinadasa said the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 is a mega international trade exhibition to be held in Colombo from 28 to 30 March 2012.
He said that Sri Lanka was emerging as a regional hub for trade, investment, tourism and related activities in this part of the world.
He added that symposiums on investment and tourism, in which leading international investors and professionals will participate, are also to be held parallel to this exhibition to facilitate overseas investors and representatives in the tourism industry. This event is expected to draw thousands of overseas buyers, investors and representatives from the tourism industry.
He said the exhibition would showcase a wide range of Sri Lankan products to overseas buyers ranging from agricultural products to industrial products including apparel, rubber and rubber based products, spices, tea, coconut and coconut based products, fruits and vegetables, fish and fishery products, ceramics and porcelain, boats, electrical and electronic products, printing and stationary, confectionary items, gems and jewellery.
Speaking about Pakistan, Sri Lanka trade relations, the Sri Lankan Envoy said Pakistan was the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region after India. A substantial growth in bilateral trade has been observed in both directions especially after the Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 2005.
The value of total trade between the two countries has increased from $158 million in 2005 to over $350 million in 2010 covering a wide range of products including new products, which indicates the potential that exists for expansion of bilateral trade.
He said the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 would be a good platform for the business communities of the two countries to explore new business opportunities, in trade and investments. This will be a unique opportunity for Pakistani business community, investors and representatives in the tourism industry to meet with the Sri Lankan partners and establish business contacts.
The Free Trade Agreement has opened new avenues for the business community of both Sri Lanka and Pakistan to expand trade and economic activities utilizing the tariff concession being granted for import of goods from each other. Except for a few products categories, over 4,000 products are eligible for trading under the Free Trade Agreement, on duty fee basis.
He said Sri Lanka’s exports to Pakistan include rubber, rubber-based products, coconut and coconut products, betel leaves, tea, pineapple, spices, dried fish, electric switches and sockets, porcelain tableware, ceramic tiles, furniture, fibre board of wood, herbal cosmetic products and plastic articles. The major export items from Pakistan to Sri Lanka include cotton, textiles, rice, cement, steel pipes, potatoes, fruits, medicaments, electrical machines and apparatus etc. The trade balance is in favour of Pakistan.
In joint ventures and investment, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are yet to exploit their full potential. Pakistan’s investment in Sri Lanka at present is at a moderate level. There are about 25 projects undertaken by Pakistan investors in the fields of chemicals, petroleum, rubber, plastic, textile wearing apparel, leather products, food and beverages, tobacco, etc.
There is increasing interest among Pakistani investors in Sri Lanka for investments in different fields including agriculture, textiles and garments manufacturing, real estate developments, tourism and hotel projects, IT and related services.
The Sri Lanka Consulate General in Karachi in cooperation with Sri Lanka High Commission in Islamabad will facilitate the visits of Pakistan businessmen to this international event. Details including registration, concessionary air tickets and hotel accommodation are available on web: www.srilankaexpo.com.