Pakistan - Lanka FTA review concludes
The secretarial level meeting and talks between Pakistan and Sri
Lanka on the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Colombo concluded
on August 18. The two sides reviewed several bilateral trade aspects and
focused on the possibility of mutual tariff concession entitlements on
The agreed minutes of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA)
and related matters were signed on Thursday following the talks.
Secretary of Pakistani Ministry of Commerce Zafar Mahmood and
Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce Tilak Collure signed the
The two sides noted the friendly ties and the growing commercial
relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and acknowledged that the
Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA), which came into force
in mid-2005 has helped the two nations enhance their bilateral trade
from US $ 147 million in 2004 to US $ 342 million by 2010, representing
a substantial increase of 133 percent.
Among the important decisions reached are that Sri Lanka would
allocate importation of the entire basmati rice quota of 6000 M/T agreed
under the PSFTA in 2005 to the private sector from 2012. Pakistan would
restore the same level of competitiveness as agreed before for Sri
Lankan betel leaves by adjusting the current margin of preference.
Pakistan would consider granting concessionary market access for
electrical items such as electrical switches and bottle cooling
machines. Pakistan confirmed to remove crude coconut oil from their No
Concessions list as agreed earlier. Sri Lanka would consider
categorizing only products imported from Pakistan as handicrafts.
Sri Lanka meanwhile would continue its discussion with Pakistan for
the purpose of pursuing its export interests in the automotive rubber
products sector. The Sri Lanka Export Development Board and Trade
Development Authority of Pakistan would consider signing an agreement
for close collaboration for promotion of trade and business visitors to
exhibitions to be held in Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2012.
Sri Lanka agreed to look into the complaints of difficulties
encountered by Pakistan exporters of cement and take appropriate action
in consultation with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka. Pakistan and
Sri Lanka would take early action to activate the Agreement on
Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assonance in Customs Matters.
The two sides also discussed the modalities and appropriate
institutional mechanisms for further expanding the existing commercial
and economic cooperation between the two countries, with special
emphasis on investment, services, customs cooperation, dispute
settlement and further deepening of the FTA. The two sides agreed to
meet at an early date to review the progress of the implementation of
decisions reached at the discussions.