SIALKOT - High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Pakistan Maj-Gen (retd) Jayanth Lakuketagodage has said that Sri Lanka was keen to establish strong mutual trade ties with Pakistan.

He stressed upon the need of making some effective practical measures to boost mutual trade ties between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, saying that the Sri Lanka was much keen to further strengthen mutual trade ties between the two countries.

He was addressing an important meeting of the Sialkot exporters held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here Friday. SCCI President Zahid Latif Malik presided over the meeting.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner said that there were bright opportunities to establish joint ventures in different trade fields with Pakistan, as several Sri Lankan companies were showing keen interest in establishing joint ventures with Pakistani companies, in this regard.

He asked the Sialkot exporters to divert their business activities towards Sri Lanka, saying that Sri Lanka would also make the needed measures for developing business-to-business contacts between the businessmen of both Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

He also asked the Sialkot exporters to tap the untapped international trade markets of Sri Lanka, saying that the Sialkot exporters have enough potential to explore and capture the international trade markets of Sri Lanka by exporting their diversified traditional and non-traditional world class export products as well.

Addressing the meeting, SCCI President Zahid Latif Malik said that the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, under the overarching umbrella of SAARC, help promote a brighter and integrated future for all the people of South Asia.

The SCCI president added that it was also encouraging to note that both sides have stepped up their efforts in increasing business to business linkages to enhance trade and further build upon the existing relations both countries enjoy.

He revealed that the total trade volume between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was around $351 million annually.

To increase bilateral trade, Zahid Latif suggested that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka should facilitate single country trade exhibitions and encourage frequent exchanges of mutual trade delegations.

The SCCI president also demanded reduction in Sri Lankan trade tariffs for ensuring the easy access of Sialkot-made products including Sports Goods & Sports Wear, Leather Apparel, Surgical Instruments, Martial Arts Uniforms and others to Sri Lanka's international trade markets as well. He also stressed the need of strengthened mutual trade relations between Colombo-Sri Lank and Sialkot-Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry as well.

Earlier, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner also visited Surgical Instruments Manufactures Association of Pakistan (SIMAP) here Friday. He discussed in details the matters of mutual interest with Sialkot based surgical exporters there.