On January 23, the Sri Lankan trade minister is expected to visit Pakistan along with representatives from 40 to 50 companies to explore avenues of cooperation and collaboration with the business community of Pakistan. This is an important visit that can pave the way for improving trade and investment ties between the two countries, and also for tapping into the potential of the tourism sector.
This can be a great opportunity for us to broaden business ties with a country with whom we share healthy relations on a bilateral level. We also need to leverage the advantage we possess, especially considering how strong our pharmaceutical and textile industries are. The current government wants to transition towards an export-oriented economy and there is a lot of scope here. During 2020, our exports to Sri Lanka stood at $324.7 million while imports were recorded at $78.9 million. The actual trade potential is much higher than what the current statistics reveal and we should tap into it by pursuing initiatives and agreements with Sri Lanka.
The economic relations and free trade agreement can prove to be beneficial for both the countries given how our trade with India is currently suspended. It is imperative that we take proactive steps to further strengthen bilateral relations in diverse sectors including education, health and sports besides enhancing people-to-people ties.
In fact, Pakistan must make special efforts to make amends for the tragic Sialkot incident. Sri Lanka handled the tragedy with a lot of grace and has always chosen to support us in difficult times, especially when it comes to touring Pakistan for cricket. Given the sharpening divides in the region due to the US-China conflict, we must value our partners in the region and further our coordination and cooperation with them.
Source; Published in The Nation