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* New Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka to promote bilateral trade and investment
Sun, Feb 24, 2013, 01:41 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 24, Colombo: The Pakistani High Commissioner designate to Sri Lanka Major General Qasim Qureshi (Retd) has assured to promote mutual relations between the business communities of the two countries.

The High Commissioner designate has recently met with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) to discuss bilateral relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and explore new avenues of trade and investment, according to a statement released Friday.

During discussions with the Chamber, Qureshi has assured to inform the Pakistani business community regarding trade opportunities available in Sri Lanka for them to benefit and enhance trade ties with Sri Lanka.

The High Commissioner has stressed that more needs to be done for strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries, especially in trade and economic cooperation.

Zafar Bakhtawari, president of the ICCI, has noted that Pakistan has a free trade agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka but the bilateral trade between the two countries is not up to the potential.

He has emphasized that trade relations need to be further enhanced as Sri Lanka and Pakistan are two close, friendly regional countries.

The ICCI president has pointed out that Pakistan needs to promote religious tourism because Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country and Pakistan has ancient Buddhist places.

Bakhtawari has stressed that there is a dire need to enhance direct air linkages between the two countries by increasing the number of direct flights to stimulate mutual relations.

Several Pakistani products, including rice, surgical instruments, sports goods and textiles have good potential in Sri Lanka and Pakistani businessmen are willing to establish direct trade links with Sri Lanka to grab better market share, the ICCI president has said.

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