Sri Lanka-Pakistan FTA Brings Optimism to Business Council AGM

The thirteenth Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council linked to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, was held recently. Col. Bashir Wali Mohmand, the High Commissioner of Pakistan, was present at the occasion as the Chief Guest. Ishtiaq H. Andrabi, Deputy High Commissioner, Moin-Ul-Haque, Counsellor, Mahaboob Ali Noon, Counsellor and Zahoor Ahmed Barlas, Press Attaché, also from the High Commission, were present as Guests of Honour.

President Gulam S. Chatoor pointed out that it was satisfying to know that the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries is finally in operation. He added that a lot of work had been put in by the officers of the High Commission and the officials of the Council to have the agreement finalized.

Chatoor also stated that the Council is in the process of collecting and analysing data to determine the total imports into Pakistan. He added that this is the right time to take a delegation to Pakistan and visit the entrepreneurs in the main commercial cities in Pakistan.

In reply, High Commissioner Col. Bashir Wali Mohmand stated that the Free Trade Agreement is expected to unfold a new era of mutually beneficial economic and commercial interaction between the two countries. It would open new avenues of cooperation not only in the exchange of goods but also exchange of services and investment. He reiterated that it is now up to the entrepreneurs of the two countries to take full advantage of the enabling environment created through the FTA. He stated that the true essence of the agreement is to ensure that consumers in both countries are provided with the best quality products at the most affordable price.

Through the high level cooperation between the two countries, efforts for increased trade are already showing good results. The trade statistics in the past seven months have already reached the level of the entire annual trade of last year.