July 10, Islamabad: A Sri Lankan delegation has arrived in Islamabad to negotiate with the Pakistani officials to finalize deal to export 300,000 metric tons of rice to Sri Lanka.
The high level Sri Lankan delegation led by Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Chinthana Lokuhetti has started bilateral negotiations for reaching the final agreements to export non-basmati rice to Sri Lanka, according to a senior official of Pakistan Ministry of Commerce.
A meeting in this regard would be held here Monday headed by Pakistan Secretary Commerce Younas Dhaga in which the two side would discuss the modus operandi and procedure for exporting non-Basmati rice to Sri Lanka, the official told APP.
Pakistan produces roughly 700,000 tons of rice annually, and is leading the regional countries in production of Basmati and non-Basmati rice, official said.
He said the government would support the Sri Lankan delegation for talks at government to government, and government to business level. Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) and representative of local rice association were also participating in negotiation.
On July 12, the Sri Lankan team will head to Myanmar from Islamabad to test Burmese rice varieties for the Sri Lankan market.
Sri Lanka Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said the team, after checking both Pakistani and Myanmar markets, will decide whether to choose Pakistan or Myanmar (or both) to purchase the rice.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since 2005. Under the FTA, Sri Lanka enjoys duty free market access on 206 products in the Pakistani market including tea, rubber and coconut while Pakistan gets duty free access on 102 products in the Sri Lankan market, including oranges, basmati/non-basmati rice and engineering goods.