Sri Lanka’s Consul General Jagath Abeywarna said that despite 75 years of good diplomatic relations and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since 2005, the volume of trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan remains “insignificant”, to $440 million, due to certain barriers preventing trade between the two parties. .
“Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka stood at $360 million, and Sri Lankan exports remained at $80 million. To strengthen this trade, the FTA must be reviewed and a mechanism must be designed to facilitate transactions between exporters and importers of the two countries facing a serious shortage of foreign exchange. As we both are going through a difficult economic situation, so we have to help each other,” he said in a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
“Pakistan was the largest buyer of Sri Lankan products, especially Ceylon tea, which unfortunately is no longer exported to Pakistan as importers here now import tea from Kenya and other countries,” a- he declared.
He stressed that collaboration between private sectors through participation in trade fairs and regular exchanges of business delegations is essential to achieve the common goal of improving trade relations. “Several sectors can promote trade between the two countries, including pharmaceuticals, fabrics, leather, etc., which are imported by Sri Lanka. We can also supply construction materials, ceramics, false ceilings, cosmetics, rubber products and agricultural products to Pakistan,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th2023.