On 24 February 2021, on the sidelines of the visit of the Prime Minister to Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development of Pakistan organised the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Conference at the Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, which was attended by more than 200 government officials and business delegates from both countries.
The conference was attended by the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, along with the Foreign and Commerce Ministers of both countries. Pakistan’s Prime Minister, H.E. Imran Khan, referred to the need for the social-economic uplift of both nations to create prosperity and alleviate poverty. In addition, PM said Pakistan’s tourism sector has enormous potential and Pakistan should learn from Sri Lanka on this front to increase exports of tourism services.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, H.E. Mahindra Rajapaksa, said that both nations should consider investing in the growth of each other from their reserves. It was proposed that this form of investment be carried out jointly by both the nation’s state banks. Furthermore, as the return on investment is 6 percent higher compared to the retention of reserves, the private sector will follow suit.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood of Pakistan spoke of Pakistan’s political change from geo-politics to geo-economics. It was also stated that wealth generation and poverty alleviation in both countries need to be the priority.
PM Commerce & Investment Advisor Razzaq Dawood said the positive economic indicators in Pakistan have improved over the last two years despite the Covid pandemic. He said Pakistan had earned investments in excess of US$ 1.5 billion in the past year alone.
In addition, with the business community of both nations, he reiterated that Pakistan is prepared for integration, trade and investment, especially in Central Asia and further North West transnational trade.
A comprehensive presentation on Pakistan’s trade potential was provided by the Ministry of Commerce, with a special emphasis on the opportunities for Sri Lankan importers in the Pakistani market. The investment opportunity and prospects for joint ventures were also highlighted by the Board of Investment.
On the sidelines of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Conference, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan organised a business networking event to enhance economic integration between the countries. The Pakistan Business Delegation, consisting of 38 different industries, including textiles, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food, information technology, automotive parts, footwear and construction, met with more than 150 Sri Lankan companies from various sectors.
It should be noted that one MoU was signed by CCL Pharma with Heman Holdings for cooperation in the areas of production, technology transfer and joint exports to more than 125 markets.
Pakistani delegates met with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E. Imran Khan, on the outskirts of the networking session, to discuss the development of the general trade and investment climate between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.