During the end of September this year, the final round of talks on Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be held in Pakistan. Sri Lankan Consul General at Karachi, Manel De Silva, made this announcement while addressing a press conference along with Niraj de Mel, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tea Board.
Mr. De Mel is heading a 4-member Sri Lanka Tea Trade Delegation to Pakistan from the 30th of August to the 2nd of September. Manel De Silva, also stated that the main aim of this visit will be to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and to maintain the close relations with Pakistan.
Ms. De Silva was optimistic that FTA talks will be finalized in the talks here expected to be the final round.
She also hoped that after the visit of this delegation, more delegations will follow and that delegations from Pakistan will also come to Sri Lanka. "With the visit of the Tea Trade Delegation, the FTA will prove to be a good start with tea trade being the most important one", she said.
Mr. de Mel further recalled that UK, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan were the first four large importing countries of Ceylon Tea. Pakistan has been one of Sri Lanka’s leading trading partners in the 1970s.
Due to a special trading agreement between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the 1980s, Sri Lanka exported around 20 million Kgs of Black tea to Pakistan. Although Pakistan is predominantly a CTC tea market at present, due to the superior quality of Ceylon Tea, it is felt that the tea consumer in Pakistan has a strong preference for it