Pakistan and Sri Lanka revitalizing their trade ventures…

The long standing relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka are very much evident and growing rapidly as well. Sri Lanka is keen to further enhance bilateral trade and economic relations with Pakistan as both countries have good potential to do trade in many areas. Pakistani products including pharmaceuticals, rice, fruits and vegetables, steel, cement, garments and textiles have huge potential in Sri Lanka and similarly Sri Lankan tea, wall tiles, floor tiles, bathroom fittings have great scope in Pakistan.

Recently Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) in collaboration with High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka has organized ‘Pakistan single country exhibition’ in Colombo in order to promote bilateral trade and commerce with Sri Lanka. The three-day event started on 12th of January 2018. Pakistan has successfully organized such events in 2016 and 2017 to promote bilateral trade and economic relations between both of the countries. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was the chief guest on the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which aims at providing a platform to the Pakistani companies for showcasing their range of products and services to Sri Lankan public and business community. The Sri Lankan President, in conjunction with Pakistan Minister for Trade, Muhammad Pervaiz Malik and Chief Commissioer of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat, inaugurated the third Version of Pakistan Nation Exhibition at BMICH, Colombo.

The High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat, while addressing the inaugural ceremony said that this exhibition was aimed at promoting and strengthening the Sri Lanka–Pakistan business interests. He further revealed that the exhibition would provide a great opportunity to Sri Lankan business houses to meet visiting companies from Pakistan through B2B interactions. He also expressed the hope that the people of Sri Lanka will not only have the opportunity to witness the varieties of Pakistan’s countless and extremely diverse products, but will also enjoy their shopping at the exhibition.

At the occasion, Pakistan’s Minister for Trade, Muhammad Pervaiz Malik has highlighted some of the imperative areas for enhancing the bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He said that both the countries have superb diplomatic relations. Pakistan is among the abruptly rising economies of the arena with pleasant industry surroundings created through the present government via insurance policies geared toward attaining micro-economic steadiness within the nation, he added.

After the inauguration, the President Maithripala Sirisena along with dignitaries visited other stalls of the exhibition specifically a unique stall on Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan established through the Prime Fee of Pakistan. An e-book, DVD and leaflets were presented to the President.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have strong commercial and bilateral ties and the FTA between the two nations has been operational since June 2005. The World Bank has described Pakistan as ‘having important strategic endowments and development potential’ and its economy as ‘resilient’. This is said to be the most important point of attraction for all those who believes in Economic development through successful partnership.

The good willtour to boost military cooperation

To further enhance the strategic cooperation and for the sake of showing the will to go beyond the already existing ties, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa recently visited Sri Lanka on a two days official visit on 15th of January 2018.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa during meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahesh Senanayake said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are probably the only two countries that understand what they take to defeat the menace of terrorism. General Qamar held meetings with Sri Lanka’s chief of defence staff and the chiefs of all three services. He was given guard of honour in all three service headquarters. The army chief also visited the Command and Staff College Sri Lanka and interacted with faculty and staff. The COAS highlighted that after having cleared the troubled areas from terrorists of all hues and colours, the Pakistani military was now going after their ‘disorganized residual presence’ under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. The leadership of Sri Lanka expressed their gratitude and appreciation for Pakistan’s unequivocal moral and material support during Sri Lanka’s successful war on terror. They also appreciated successes of Pakistan Army in ongoing War on Terror.

While his meeting with the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena he appraised the achievements which Sri Lanka has achieved by significant development due to the prevailing peaceful environment. General Qamar Javed Bajwa recalled the historic tour made by the Sri Lankan cricket team to Pakistan in a background where other countries stayed away from Pakistan and further stated that Sri Lanka is a true friend of Pakistan.

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Writer is Staff Reporter Mélange for Europe & Coordinator Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR).