Pakistan, Sri Lanka eye $1bn trade

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka are striving to boost the bilateral trade to $1 billion from the current $325 million.

This was stated by the Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir while inaugurating the three-day single-country exhibition in Colombo, along with his counterpart Sri Lankan Minister for Industry Rishad Bathiuddin on Friday.

An official statement of the ministry said that the exhibition would showcase Pakistani brands in engineering, auto parts, agro food, textile and clothing, designer wear, handicrafts and traditional textiles, cosmetics and herbal products, pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, carpets and marble.

The soft launch of the fair, organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and the High Commission of Pakistan, was performed by the prime minister in Sri Lanka earlier this month.

The exhibition is a key step to materialise the target of increasing the bilateral trade to $1bn.

Negotiations have already started to expand the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to trade in services and investment.

Technical level meetings have detailed out the basic framework for inclusion of new subjects in the FTA.

Pakistan has also sought to enhance the export quota of rice to Sri Lanka from the current 6,000 to 10,000 metric tonnes, response on which is still awaited.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dastgir said that the fair would carve out new business partnerships, strengthen the old ones and enhance trade and commerce between the two countries.

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