Sri Lanka, Pakistan foreign ministers agree to expand bilateral trade to US$ 1 billion

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The visiting Pakistan Minister of Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi called on his Sri Lankan counterpart Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry today, 24 February 2021.

Foreign Minister Qureshi, who accompanied Prime Minister Imran Khan in his high-level two-day official visit to Sri Lanka reassured Pakistan’s continued solidarity and support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to achieve sustainable development, economic growth, stability and prosperity.

Both Ministers endorsed the notion that the relationship needs the transformation towards closer economic relations for the mutual benefit.

The two Ministers agreed to strengthen the multifaceted bilateral relationship through the ongoing commercial activities under the Pakistan Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) to achieve the desired target of US $ 1 Billion annual two-way trade.

Both sides are vying to expand the bilateral trade relationship to new domains such as investments, services and finance beyond the current threshold of activities under the PSFTA.

Foreign Minister Gunawardena conveyed Sri Lanka’s desirability to see increased Pakistan investments in the manufacturing sector to enhance exports. He welcomed the visit of a high-powered business delegation from Pakistan together with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Both Ministers agreed to work closely in the multilateral fora on matters of mutual concern. Foreign Minister Gunawardena conveyed Sri Lanka’s appreciation for the first call by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the international financial institutes and other lenders to provide debt relief to developing countries, which he termed as “an important opening for the Global South”.

Foreign Minister Qureshi extended an invitation to Foreign Minister Gunawardena to undertake a reciprocal visit to Pakistan.

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