The 11th Session of Sri Lanka – Pakistan Joint Economic Commission was held in Colombo yesterday (27). The Federal Minister for Industries and Production Pakistan, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi represented Pakistan at the forum while Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen represented Sri Lanka.
“The newly elected government in Pakistan is very keen to strengthen economic relationship with the countries in the region and Sri Lanka is one of the most important neighbor in this context,” said the Federal Minister for Industries and Production Pakistan, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi.
He expressed the hope that deliberations of this Joint Economic Commission would prepare concrete and significant recommendations to advance further growth in various areas of mutual interests. Pakistan is mindful of the fact that existing cordial and friendly relations between the two countries can be further translated into substantial economic and commercial cooperation, he added.
In his remarks, Mr. Rishad Bathiudeen said that Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been enjoining extremely cordial relations as Pakistan has been a very close and genuine friend of Sri Lanka. He noted that both the countries are connected by deep rooted mutual cooperation, while sharing common views on many bilateral, regional and international issues. Both the nations have always stood by each other, in much needed and difficult times, the Minister added.
As a follow up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s offer to assist Sri Lanka in sugar sector, the Minister for Industries and Productions Pakistan called on Sri Lankan Minister for Sugar Industry Development, Lakshaman Seneviratne. The two Ministers had a detailed discussion about the prospects of enhanced bilateral cooperation and agreed to collaborate closely in setting up sugar industries in Sri Lanka with the assistance of Pakistan.
The Pakistani side agreed to the Sri Lankan proposal for charting out and formalizing cooperation between the Sugar Research Institutes of the two countries with the signing of an MoU for cooperation.
In a separate development, Mr. Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi also called on Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa in the afternoon. The two sides discussed a whole gamut of issues to bolster economic ties between the two countries. The Minister of Industries and Productions expressed appreciation on behalf of the government of Pakistan for the vision with which President Rajapaksa is developing Sri Lanka’s national economy.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa while thanking the support extended by Pakistan to Sri Lanka urged Pakistan government to explore the possibility of cooperation between the two countries in pharmaceutical sector. He also expressed Sri Lankan government’s resolve to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
The Minister for Industries and Production also invited the Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Development to visit Pakistan which the Sri Lankan Minister accepted.