Pakistan and Sri Lanka have agreed to reactivate the forum of Joint Working Groups (JWGs) for redressal of technical issues pending between the two trading partners for prompting trade liberalisation to increase bilateral trade between both the countries.

It was decided to conduct the next JWG meeting during the first half of 2021, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Saturday. The seventh session of commerce secretaries’ level talks, hosted by Pakistan, was held virtually in Islamabad between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The delegates from both sides engaged in productive and meaningful discussions on strengthening trade ties and resolving issues impeding trade.

From Pakistan’s side the delegation was led by Ministry of Commerce Special Secretary Muhammad Sohail Rajput, while Ministry of Trade Secretary JM Bhadranie Jayawardhana steered the Sri Lankan side.

Both sides further agreed to enhance cooperation in trade related matters so that the true potential of the free trade agreement could be effectively exploited. The secretaries of the two sides agreed to the text of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of investment and resolved that it will usher in new avenues of bilateral investment.

The meeting concluded with the commitment to expand and cement bilateral relationships between the two countries. The Sri Lankan side acknowledged that Pakistan has been a long standing trading partner, a closer ally and shared that Sri Lanka is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming visit of the Pakistani prime minister to Colombo.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2021.

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