ISFTA big player in economic integration - Rishad | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

ISFTA big player in economic integration - Rishad

From left: Minister for Finance Government of Jammu and Kashmir Haseeb A. Drabu, Founder President and CEO of Dubai based Coal and Oil Group/ Leader of UEF Ahmed A.R. Buhari and Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen at the UEF Trade Forum 2017 in Chennai.
From left: Minister for Finance Government of Jammu and Kashmir Haseeb A. Drabu, Founder President and CEO of Dubai based Coal and Oil Group/ Leader of UEF Ahmed A.R. Buhari and Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen at the UEF Trade Forum 2017 in Chennai.

No partnership between India and Sri Lanka is as strong as the historic Indo-Lanka trade pact inked way back in 1998. “The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement was the most significant Indo-Sri Lanka partnership we have realised on the commercial front” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the inaugural event of the United Economic Forum (UEF) Trade Summit 2017 at the Chennai Trade Centre, Tamil Nadu. The event, the second edition in the series organized by the UEF was unveiled by the Minister for Finance of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir Haseeb A. Drabu. UEF is currently led by Ahmed A.R. Buhari Founder President and CEO of the Dubai based Coal and Oil Group (C&O).

“Undoubtedly ISFTA was the most significant Indo-Sri Lanka partnership we have realized on the commercial front. It played a crucial role as a catalyst that shaped our subsequent economic integration with other countries in the region. With ISFTA becoming operational in year 2000, the value of Indo-Lanka bilateral trade has increased in an unprecedented manner from USD 650 m in 2000, to close to USD 5 B by 2016.” In 2016, Lankan exports to India totaled US $ 551.2 m of which 68% ($375.2 m) were exports under ISFTA. Sri Lanka’s top five exports - both under ISFTA and out of it to India last year were pepper, animal feed, nuts, paper/ paperboard and ships & vessels.

Total bilateral trade for last year was $4.37b while from January-August this year it was $3.26b. Sri Lanka’s leading import item from India for the past 5 years has been petroleum oil.

Indian Industry and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu stressed the importance of collaboration in national policy formulation. “We must think about policies in a very comprehensive manner and that means a lot of stakeholders need to be consulted.That means the government cannot just frame the policies within the four walls of a Ministry,”he said.

The first UEF Summit was held in 2015 in Chennai.

Among those who addressed Chennai’s UEF 2017 was O Panneerselvam, Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who said that the TN New Industrial Policy launched in 2014 is now being reworked.

The UEF, a Chamber of Commerce was founded by Alhaj Dr B.S. Abdur Rahman, a visionary and an educationist, to develop entrepreneurs, offering them the latest in training, technology as well as access to emerging opportunities, innovations, rising markets, government concessions and facilitating project finance including Shariah-compliant funds.

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