SLPBC expects to exploit opportunities under newly elected leadership
Saturday, 27 July 2013 00:03
The Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council (SLPBC) was established in 1991 under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce with a view to promote trade, investment, tourism and services between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The Council held its 20th Annual General Meeting at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently.
Rohitha Thilakaratne, Managing Director of Merchant Lanka, was elected as the President of SLPBC for 2013-2014. Addressing the members, Thilakaratne mentioned that the Council participated at various discussion sessions with both the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo and the Department of Commerce pertaining to the development of trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan during the year.
These discussions have contributed at FTA review meetings between the two governments which resulted in many duty concessions, benefiting Sri Lankan exporters. Another key event of the Council was the business delegation to seventh Expo Pakistan, the largest trade fair in Pakistan. Thilakaratne led the delegation to Karachi and Islamabad last year.
During this visit, a MoU was also signed between the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Given the rapid growth potential in the leisure and pharmaceutical sectors, Thilakaratne encouraged potential investors in Pakistan to invest in Sri Lanka. He ensured that the Council will continue to act as a technical committee to further develop bilateral relationships between the two countries.
Major General Qasim Qureshi, High Commissioner of Pakistan, was the Chief Guest at the event. In his address, the High Commissioner noted that the trade potential between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has not been exploited to the fullest. He encouraged the business community to work towards further enhancing the trade in order to achieve the target for increasing the volume of bilateral trade to US$ 1 billion by 2015. Congratulating the newly appointed Committee, the High Commissioner stated that under the newly elected leadership, the SLPBC will help to deepen and diversify the economic content of Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations.
The two Vice Presidents are Sega Nagendra, Director – Finance, CML-MTD Construction and Zahara Cader, Managing Directress, Tallman Tours. The Committee Members elected for 2013-2014 include Akbar Brothers Ltd., Eswaran Brothers Exports Ltd., Habib Bank Ltd., Expolanka Ltd., Hatton National Bank PLC, M.A. Razak & Co. Ltd. and Mansel (Ceylon) Ltd.