Pakistan, Sri Lanka agree to reactivate joint working groups to remove trade barriers 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka have agreed to reactivate the forum of joint working groups (JWGs) for redressal of technical issues pending between the two trading partners.

The understanding was reached during the 7th session of commerce secretaries’ level talks between the two countries held on February 18, a commerce ministry statement issued on Saturday read.

The meeting was held ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka on February 23-24, 2021.

According to details shared by the Ministry of Commerce, both sides have decided to conduct the next JWG meeting during the first half of 2021 so as to find ways to effectively exploit the real potential of the Free Trade Agreement signed between the two countries.

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From Pakistan’s side, the Pakistani delegation was led by MoC Special Secretary Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, whereas Trade Secretary J.M. Bhadranie Jayawardhana represented the Sri Lankan side.

The delegates engaged in productive and meaningful discussions on strengthening trade ties and resolving issues impeding trade, the MoC stated. Prospects of enhancing trade through mutual cooperation and facilitation were also discussed.

The heads of the two delegations emphasized the need to use this forum to further strengthen the existing bilateral trade and investment linkages between the two countries. They also agreed to the text of Memorandum of Understanding in the field of investment and resolved that it would culminate into new avenues of bilateral investment.

The Sri Lankan side acknowledged that Pakistan has been a longstanding trading partner and a closer ally, adding that Sri Lanka is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Colombo.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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