A high powered Business Delegation from Pakistan led by Minister of Commerce of Pakistan, Khurram Dastigir Khan visiting Sri Lanka met with the State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe at the Board of Investment (BOI). Senior officials from the BOI and the officials from the Respective Ministries and Departments participated at these meetings with the purpose of looking at areas of greater cooperation in investment.
The Pakistani delegation showed interest in investing in the Sugar, Cement, Pharmaceuticals, Dairy and IT sectors.
While welcoming the visiting delegation, Minister Senasinghe described the efforts made by the Sri Lankan government to build a climate which is investor friendly for all investors. Further he described the new Government of Sri Lanka as committed to Good Governance, Rule of Law and Transparency. He stated that the Sri Lankan economy is open to the world and to growth based on Manufacturing, particularly in developing Heavy Industries such as automobile assembly. He also spoke of the need to develop Specialized Zones for advanced industries.
Minister Senasinghe pointed out that Sri Lanka and Pakistan enjoyed a unique relationship that led to considerable economic interaction between the two countries. Both countries are not competitors, but have a partnership. Sri Lanka too had in recent months strengthened relations with Pakistan and there had been the State Visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to Pakistan. The Minister also spoke of the Prime Minister’s new Economic Policy aimed at boosting Sri Lanka’s exports from $11Bn to $50Bn $ by 2020.
The Pakistani side also expressed their views and formulated their areas of interest. One Pakistani investor suggested that Sri Lanka produce less expensive and stronger flavored CTC tea that enjoys popularity among lower income groups in Pakistan. Enquires were also made about Sri Lanka’s land ownership policy and the Sri Lankan side assured them that this matter was being addressed by the Government. The emergence of a more liberalized land policy in the future was mentioned by the Minister. The other areas discussed at the meeting were the galvanized tubes and the dairy products which currently Sri Lanka imports from Pakistan.
The Pakistani delegation expressed their interest in exporting coal to Sri Lanka. Furthermore they were keen in exporting pharmaceuticals to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Officials emphasized the need for pharmaceuticals production in Sri Lanka. In the future Pharmaceuticals will be manufactured by some local enterprises hence that would be possibilities of joint ventures by Sri Lanka and Pakistani enterprises.
The Pakistan High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Major General (Retd) Syed Shakeel Hussain also addressed this gathering and encouraged the delegation to consider investing in Sri Lanka. Ms. Farah Farooq, Commercial Counsellor and Hasan Zigham the Counsellor (political) for High Commission of Pakistan also participated at this meeting.