A South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) delegation comprising two ministers in charge of commerce and four commerce secretaries from member countries called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees Friday evening.
During the discussion with the President, the SAARC delegation stressed the need for further strengthening bilateral relations between SAARC nations.
The group included Minister of Commerce of Bangladesh Ghulam Muhammed Quader, Minister of Economic Affairs of Bhutan Lyonpo Norby, Secretary Ministry of Commerce and Supply of Nepal Janardan Nepal, Secretary Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industry of Pakistan Qasim Mohammed Niaz, Joint Secretary Commerce, Ministry of Commerce, India Arvind Mehta, High Commissioner of Maldives Hussain Shihab, and Secretary General, SAARC, Ahmed Saleem.
The group was in Colombo to attend the South Asian Free Trade area (SAFTA), Ministerial Council Meeting that took place on Aug. 23.
President Rajapaksa while expressing Sri Lanka's willingness to further strengthen bi-lateral relations between SAARC nations in all sectors especially in areas of trade, investment and tourism, said with the defeat of terrorism and return of peace there is a highly favorable environment for investment in Sri Lanka.
"City of Colombo itself is a symbol of development progress that Sri Lanka has acquired recently" said Quader, Commerce Minister of Bangladesh.
Indian Secretary of Commerce, Mehta pointed out the need to pay more attention to joint investment ventures among the countries of the region.
The delegation also discussed with the President the next SAARC Summit to be held in the first quarter of the next year in Nepal.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen, Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce Anura Siriwardena, Director General of Commerce P.D. Fernando were also present on the occasion.