A seminar themed “Maximising Benefits of Pakistan — Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement” was conducted by the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, 30 September, 2010 at the Auditorium of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
The Resource personnel included Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of Institute of Policy Studies, V. S. Sidath Kumar, Deputy Director General-Commerce, Department of Commerce and Mariam Saeed, Charge d’ Affaires of the High Commission of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Sri Lanka-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement was signed in August 2002 and implemented in June 2005. With the growing importance of Economic Development, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are considered as a key engine that drives trade between nations. The Seminar was designed to enhance the understanding and recognise opportunities available by optimising the FTA.
The Seminar was threefold; Dr. Kelegama enlightened on how to recognise benefits available by optimising the FTA and its future prospects while Sidath Kumar explained key features, objectives and technical aspects and Saeed identified avenues of enhancing trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The members of the audience were given an opportunity to raise issues they deal with when trading with Pakistan, which created an interactive dialogue between the participants and panelists.
Seema Ilahi Baloch, High Commissioner (Designate) represented the High Commission of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Colombo. In her address Baloch emphasised that there is huge potential for further development of trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan and this type of exercise would certainly enhance knowledge.