- Council’s new President notes low export volume; asks High Comm. to intervene
Despite Pakistan being a significant consumer of tea, only a low quantity of tea is exported from Sri Lanka to Pakistan, as noted by the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council’s (SLPBC’s) newly elected President Somasundaram Deivanayagam, who has requested the Pakistani High Commissioner to look into the matter.
This occurred at the SLPBC’s recent annual general meeting (AGM), where Eswaran Brothers Exports Managing Director Somasundaram Deivanayagam was elected President of the Council. Upon assuming duties, he asked the Pakistani High Commissioner to explore the possibility of Pakistan importing increased quantities of tea from Sri Lanka.
High Commissioner for Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Muhammad Saad Khattak graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Addressing the gathering, he stated: “I strongly believe that the active working and participation of forums such as the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce are integral to building long-term and sustainable business-to-business linkages between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.”
Further elaborating on trade ties, he indicated that though the current trend of growth in bilateral trade is positive, the present volume of trade (approximately $ 450 million) does not reflect the true potential between the two nations. Currently, Sri Lanka is Pakistan’s 14th-largest export destination, while Pakistan is Sri Lanka’s 23rd.
“In South Asia, Sri Lanka ranks as the third-largest trading partner. Major exports to Sri Lanka include Portland Cement, vegetables including onions and potatoes, rice, pharmaceuticals, cereals, cotton yarn, woven fabric, etc. I’m pleased to note that exports to Sri Lanka have been stable and growing throughout the years since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and in 2019, exports from Pakistan stood at $ 369 million. However, we are cognisant of the fact that exports from Sri Lanka, which stood at $ 81 million in 2019 and the overall volume of bilateral trade between our two friendly countries can be significantly improved,” he said.