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Sri Lanka, Pakistan upbeat on FTA talks

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are upbeat on the recently concluded bilateral talks on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and related matters which closed on August 18 in Colombo. The Secretarial Level Meeting on August 17 and 18 reviewed several bilateral trade aspects and also focused on the possibility of mutual tariff concession entitlements on selected items.


Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka, Rishad Bathiudeen (left), hosts Pakistani Senior Minister and Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Muhammad Amin Fahim, (centre) and Pakistanís High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ms. Seema Illahi Baloch, (at right) in Colombo on Tuesday.

"The August 17-18 talks in Colombo were fruitful and I am satisfied with the outcome" said, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen recently he was addressing Pakistani Senior Minister and Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Muhammad Amin Fahim.

Pakistan is Sri Lanka's second largest trade partner in the South Asian region.

The successful conclusion of the FTA review is a sign of increasing trade cooperation between the two countries in recent times," Minister Bathiudeen said.

"Sri Lanka is now in the process of taking follow- up action including a post FTA review in the aftermath of successful wrap-up of the August meeting in Colombo.

Almost all issues raised at the Joint Economic Commission meeting in Islamabad in July appear to have been ironed out during this meeting in Colombo" Minister Bathiudeen told Pakistani Minister Muhammad Amin Fahim. Sri Lanka was the first country that Pakistan signed an FTA.

Sri Lanka-Pakistan bilateral trade has been on the increase from $ 158 m in 2005 to $ 342 m in 2010. While Sri Lanka's exports to Pakistan have increased from $ 43 m in 2005 to $ 64 m in 2010, Sri Lanka's imports from Pakistan have also increased from $ 115.6 m in 2005 to $ 281.7 m in 2010.

Minister Bathiudeen told Pakistani Minister Amin Fahim that Sri Lanka's economic upswing has opened doors for fresh investment opportunities for keen Pakistani investors. One such avenue is pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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