Islamabad, April 30, 2013 (PPI-OT): The Fifth Technical Level Meeting on Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) was held at Islamabad from 29-30 April, 2013.
The Meeting was co-chaired by Munir Qureshi, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, and Mr. Anura Siriwardena, Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Government of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Munir Qureshi attributed successful working of PSFTA as a result of dedication, hard work and spirit of accommodation displayed by both sides. He, however, noted that the present trade figures are far below the trade potential of the two countries. He emphasized the need to enhance the existing level of trade and commerce through greater interaction.
He further evinced keen desire to broaden and deepen the PSFTA by including Investment and Services in its ambit. The Secretary hoped that 5th Technical Level PSFTA meeting in Islamabad would play a vital role in devising ways and means needed to boost existing volume of trade.
Mr. Anura Siriwardena expressed gratitude for the warm welcome and excellent hospitality extended to him and his delegation since their arrival in Pakistan, and shared the views of the Commerce Secretary of Pakistan relating to PSFTA.
He said that there was a strong urge for augmenting bilateral trade. He however, was also of the view that much is left to be done to actualize the actual potential of bilateral trade. He said that the key to move forward would be to create a high level of awareness of the opportunities provided by the Agreement to the business community.
Both countries agreed that most of the decisions taken during last Technical Level Meeting regarding Margin of Preference and Tariff Rate Quotas on certain items and No-Concession List of Pakistan have been resolved. The Meeting also constituted New Joint Working Groups on Services, Investment and Customs and Auto parts which would further deepen Pakistan Sri Lanka economic relations.
The meeting decided that a Joint Working Group(JWG) will be constituted to give proposals for expanding the scope of FTA to include Investment and Services. In regard to cooperation in customs matters, nodal persons will be nominated and JWG will have a meeting to discuss all Customs related issues.
On market access for Pakistani mangoes, the Pakistani side clarified that Pakistan is free from Mango Pulp Weevil pest. It promised to hand over the information on various methods being used currently to treat mangoes within next one month. Sri Lankan side agreed to examine this issue and discuss it in the next meeting.
For cooperation in Investment, both sides agreed to form a Working Group on that would be notified by both Governments within a month of signing of the minutes of the meeting.
The meeting noted that the Chapter on Services will be reviewed by the Working Group on Trade and brought for discussion in the next meeting Technical Level Meeting.
It was decided that as per the Customs Cooperation Agreement, the two sides will have a meeting in Colombo on the sidelines of forthcoming JEC.
Regarding exploring possibility of entering into Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between SLSI and PSQCA, both sides agreed that a draft will be shared within one month.
On exploring possibility of signing MOU between TDAP and EDB, Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed that the working group on trade notified by both sides may explore the possibility of such MOU. The JWG may meet on the sidelines of forthcoming Joint Economic Commission (JEC).
In terms of collaboration between Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design (PIFD) and its Counterpart Sri Lankan Organization, it was agreed that PIDF will send two representatives to the exhibition scheduled to be held in Colombo in 29-31 August, 2013. The Sri Lankan side were requested to identify the Institution which could collaborate with PIDF in the fields of Gems and Jewellery, Textile and Fashion Lingerie.
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