At the fifth Technical Level Meeting on Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) held in Islamabad from April 29-30, the two countries agreed to enhance the existing level of trade and commerce through greater interaction.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Secretary of the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce Munir Qureshi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Anura Siriwardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Having recognized that despite the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries in 2005, the present trade figures are far below the trade potential of the two countries, Qureshi emphasized the need to further deepen the economic relations.
Both countries agree that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has the potential to increase much more than the current volume of US$ 400 million and aim to expand the bilateral trade to reach US$ 2 billion in the next three years.
Qureshi attributed successful working of PSFTA as a result of dedication, hard work and spirit of accommodation displayed by both sides and expressed desire to broaden and deepen the PSFTA by including Investment and Services in its ambit.
In this regard, the two sides decided that a Joint Working Group (JWG) would be formed to give proposals for expanding the scope of FTA to include investment and services. The officials agreed to nominate nodal persons and JWG will have a meeting to discuss all customs related issues.
The meeting also constituted new Joint Working Groups on services, investment and customs and auto part, which would meet respectively, to further deepen Pakistan Sri Lanka economic relations.
The Pakistan Secretary hoped that 5th Technical Level PSFTA Meeting in Islamabad would play a vital role in devising ways and means to give a much needed boost to existing volume of trade.
The Sri Lankan Secretary expressing gratitude to Pakistan said there was a strong urge for augmenting bilateral trade but much remains to be done to realize the actual potential of bilateral trade.
Key to move forward would be to create a high level of awareness of the opportunities provided by the agreement to the business community, the Sri Lankan official said.