Sri Lankan Consul General GL Gnanatheva has lamented that the imposition of regulatory duty by Pakistan has terribly impacted Sri Lanka’s exports to Pakistan.
The consul general expressed the displeasure while highlighting a few hurdles obstructing smooth trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday.
“Because of the imposition of regulatory duty, Sri Lankan exporters are reluctant to further enhance trade or explore Pakistani markets,” he elaborated.
“Although a massive potential exists to improve trade ties, our exporters are unwilling to take any additional initiatives and we are unable to convince them due to Pakistan’s uncertain trade policies.”
Gnanatheva underlined the need for collective efforts by both the nations to lift the existing trade volume. Pakistan and Sri Lanka should explore more trade opportunities and define a clear road map for growth in trade, investment and exports, he added.
Recalling that Sri Lanka was the first country to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan in 2005, he termed it the most successful deal, which provided extensive benefits to business communities of the two sides.
“It has been observed, however, that most of the benefits granted under the FTA remain largely unutilised by both sides,” he pointed out. “Hence, there is a need to organise either a day-long or half-day seminar in which business communities of Pakistan and Sri Lanka will get a perfect opportunity to identify the obstacles.”
The consul general suggested that the existing trade potential could also be discussed at the event besides presenting information about untapped benefits of the FTA. Options to further improve the FTA could also be sought in order to make it more vibrant, he emphasised.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2019.