The Pakistan High Commission stated that trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan reached the highest figure for five years in the two year trade 2003-04 topping US$ 146.26 million, while more than 50% growth was registered in the Pakistan imports to Sri Lanka during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2004-05) to the corresponding period last year.
Pakistan High Commissioner Bashir Wali Mohmand pointed out that imports to Sri Lanka from Pakistan had exceeded US$ 28.6 million as compared to US$ 18.7 million in the corresponding period last year. This is an increase of US$ 9.9 million (52.96%). He also said that the two countries enjoy an excellent relationship and there is tremendous amount of goodwill for each other.
High Commission spokesperson Z.A. Barlas stated, “Sri Lanka being a small country with the economy size of US$ 18 billion has not figured prominently on the radar screen of our exporters. Similarly Sri Lankan traders too have limited interaction with their Pakistani counterparts who are not aware of Pakistani's export potentials”.
“After the Free Trade Agreement, Sri Lanka will be able to export certain goods to Pakistan without having to pay heavy import duties and Pakistan will also be able to import certain goods from Sri Lanka duty free,” said the High Commissioner. He also explained that there is an agreement relating to gem and jewellery and that Sri Lanka has the skills to cut, polish and shape gemstones into world class jewellery unlike Pakistan. “Because of the FTA, Pakistan jewellers can go to Sri Lanka and learn the technical skills to enable them to make world class jewellery. This will also foster joint ventures between the two countries,” he further added.