Business Times

Sri Lankan private sector to import entire basmati rice quota from Pakistan

Sri Lanka has agreed to import the entire basmati rice quota of 6,000 tonnes from Pakistan under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) through the private sector from 2012.

The understanding was reached at the end of the 4th technical level meeting on FTA held in Colombo, an official press release said. Pakistan would restore the same level of competitiveness as agreed before for Sri Lankan betel leaves by adjusting the current margin of preference, it said. The two sides noted the friendly ties and the growing commercial relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

They also acknowledged that the Pakistan-Sri Lanka free trade agreement, 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 %, the release added.

The fourth technical level meeting on Pakistan Sri Lanka free trade agreement and related matters was held in Colombo from August 17-18, 2011. Zafar Mahmood, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan and Tilak Collure, Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka, led the Pakistani and Sri Lankan delegations, respectively at the discussions. They signed the agreement on behalf of the two countries.

It also said that Pakistan would consider granting concessionary market access for electrical items such as electrical switches and bottle cooling machines and it confirmed to remove crude coconut oil from their “No concession list” as agreed earlier. Sri Lanka would consider categorising only products imported from Pakistan as handicrafts and would continue its discussion with Pakistan for the purpose of pursuing its export interests in automotive rubber products sector, it added.

The press release said that Sri Lanka would look into the complaints of difficulties encountered by Pakistani exporters of cement and take appropriate action in consultation with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka.

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