Pakistan, S Lanka Joint Economic Commission meeting begins

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Pakistan, S Lanka Joint Economic Commission meeting begins

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan – Sri-Lanka Joint Economic Commission (JEC) on Monday kicked off the deliberations on promotion of trade and economic relations between the two countries and a possibility would also be looked in to the establishing direct shipping service between the two countries.

An eleven-member delegation led by Rishad Bathiudeen Minister for Industries and Commerce of Sri-Lanka is visiting Pakistan to participate in the 10th Session of Pakistan –Sri Lanka JEC meeting to be held from July 4 to July 5th, 2011. The Pakistan side is led by Minister of State for Economic Affiars, Hina Rabbani Khar.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have strong cultural and historical bonds. Both countries share common perception on important regional and important issues. As members of SAARC both countries contribute a lot in similar base to the evolution regional cooperation. The JEC between the two countries was established in 1974 and is co-chaired by the Minister for Economic Affairs from Pakistan and Minister for Industries Commerce from Sri Lanka. The previous session of JEC was held on May 12,13, 2005 at Colombo.

The current session of the JEC will focus to review the progress on the decisions arrived at in the last session held at Colombo and to improve the economic and commercial ties between the two countries in accordance with the agenda set for the session. The agenda for the current session was agreed upon between the two countries in a joint meeting held in Colombo on March 21,22, 2011. The salient features of the ongoing talks during 10th Session of JEC will be to:

Review the bilateral trade between the two countries, which at present is to the tune of $338 million.

Discuss sectoral alliances on Pakistan trade bodies with Sri Lankan counterparts.

Explore the possibility of exchange of traders/businessmen delegations and revisit the prevailing tariff structure between the two countries.

Dilate upon issues relating to specific items like tariff on Beatle leaves, export of Coconut oil and Copra, quota for Basmati rice by Sri-Lanka, access for Pakistani mangoes and packed paper tissues along with tariff issues on some agriculture products in Pakistan will also be discussed by the two sides.

Review the details of $200 million credit facility offered by government of Pakistan during the visit of Pakistan President to Sri Lanka in November 2010.

Offer the services and expertise of Heavy Mechanical Complex on the part of government of Pakistan in the establishment of sugar and cement plant, grinding and packing plant in Sri Lanka for utilisation of the aforesaid credit line.

Extend expertise of Pakistan Engineering Company and State Engineering Corporation to Sri Lankan government in a number of fields. Cooperate in the field of space technology, robotics and microeconomics through the Ministry of Science Technology in Pakistan.

Discuss the MoU signed between the two countries in the field of agriculture cooperation on 28-11-2010 in order to strengthen collaboration in agriculture, food processing and fisheries.

Moreover, possibility of establishing direct shipping service between the two countries will also be explored. Pakistan will seek the assistance of Sri Lanka in the field of training the nursing staff in cardiology, neurology and psychiatry. The leader of the Joint Ministerial Commission is also scheduled to hold a number of sideline meetings with Minister for Industries, Minister for Commerce and Trade and President of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries. In the sideline meetings, bilateral economic and commercial relations in the respective fields will be discussed. The session will conclude on 5th July 2011 and a Joint Communique will be issued thereafter.

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