July 11, Islamabad: Pakistan has agreed to provide initially 25,000 metric tons of non-basmati rice to Sri Lanka that would be procured on government to government basis, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
A Sri Lankan delegation arrived in Islamabad on Monday to negotiate with the Pakistani officials to finalize a 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 headed by Pakistan Secretary Commerce Younas Dhaga was held at the Ministry of Commerce where the two sides discussed the procedure for exporting non-Basmati rice to Sri Lanka.
The two sides also discussed about signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Trade Corporation of Pakistan and Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) of Sri Lanka for sullying commodities.
The Chairman TCP, Mushtaq Ahmed Sheikh and representatives of local rice association also participated in negotiation.
He said that domestic production of rice in Sri Lanka was low and they are willing to import non-Basmati rice from Pakistan.
Sri Lanka Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said the Sri Lankan team on July 12 will head to Myanmar from Islamabad to test Burmese rice varieties for the Sri Lankan market.
He 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.