‚ÄėPakistan-Sri Lanka trade zooming to US$ one billion mark‚Äô
High Commissioner Shahzad A. Chaudhry
TRADE: Trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is growing and
would reach the US $ one billion mark in the next five years, the High
Commissioner for Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Shahzad A. Chaudhry said.
Speaking at an event organised by the National Chamber of Exporters
last week in Colombo he said there is a sharp increase of trade after
signing the FTA between the two countries in 2005.
He said trade, which was around US $ 35 million before signing the
MoU, passed the US $ 200 million mark after the MoU. ‚ÄúThough this is a
sharp increase it is not at all sufficient. Both countries have lot of
potential that has been underutilised,‚ÄĚ he said.
In the first six months of this year trade has passed the US S 285
million mark with the trade balance being in favour of Pakistan. Exports
to Sri Lanka in the first six months were US $ 285 million.
The High Commissioner said most of the countries in the region are
trying to do business with Europe and have ignored the potential in
Chaudhry said the hospitality industry is an area that has been
untapped. ‚ÄúSome of the hotels in Sri Lanka are top of the line and are
sometimes better than what they have to offer. The hospitality in Sri
Lanka too is better than what is available in Pakistan,‚ÄĚ he said.
Buddhist tourism too has tremendous potential that is yet to be
Another area where there are opportunities for Sri Lankan
entrepreneurs is the retail trade in Pakistan. ‚ÄúPakistan has a growing
upper class with relatively high per capita incomes.
We do not have supermarket chains such as Cargills, Keells, Arpico
and Laugfs and Sri Lanka could look for opportunities in this area,‚ÄĚ he
While Pakistan produces the best textiles and yarn they cannot match
the high quality of Sri Lankan apparels. ‚ÄúTherefore both countries
should share knowledge in these areas and joint ventures would be very
gainful for both countries,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúPakistan is now the most investment-friendly nation in South Asia.
Business regulations have been profoundly overhauled along liberal
lines, especially since 1999.
Foreign investors do not face any restrictions on the inflow of
capital, and investment of up to 100% of equity participation is allowed
in most sectors (local partners must be brought in within 5 years and
contribute up to 40% of the equity in the services and agriculture
sectors). Unlimited remittance of profits, dividends, service fees or
capital is now the rule.
World Bank report published in late 2006 ranked Pakistan (as 74th)
well ahead of neighbours like China (93rd) and India (134th) on ease of
He said that Pakistan‚Äôs economy is growing at 7 percent and last year
they had 6 billion foreign direct investment. The automobile industry
too is growing and last year 160,000 units were manufactured.
‚ÄúWe can assist Sri Lanka in engineering, fruit and vegetables dairy
sectors and the embassy staff in Colombo would assist any local
exporter‚ÄĚ, he said.
Pakistan‚Äôs KSE 100 Index was the best-performing stock market index
in the world as declared by the international magazine ‚ÄúBusiness Week‚ÄĚ.
Pakistan exports rice, cotton, fish, fruits, and vegetables and imports
vegetable oil, wheat, cotton, pulses and consumer foods.
The country is Asia‚Äôs largest camel market, second-largest apricot
and ghee market and third-largest cotton, onion and milk market.