Pakistan and Sri Lanka agree to activate joint working groups to boost trade

Daily Times: Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed to reactivate the Joint Working Groups (JWG) forum to solve outstanding technical issues between the two trading partners to push forward trade liberalization to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.

It was decided to hold the next JWG meeting during the first half of 2021, said a press release issued by the Commerce Ministry here on Saturday.

The seventh session of trade 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, where delegates from both sides engaged in meaningful and productive discussions on strengthening trade ties and solving problems that hamper trade.

On the Pakistani side, the delegation was led by the special secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput, while the secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, JM Bhadranie Jayawardhana, led the Sri Lankan side.

Both parties also agreed to enhance cooperation on trade-related matters so that the true potential of the Free Trade Agreement can be effectively exploited.

The secretaries of the two parties agreed on the text of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of investment and resolved that it will mark the beginning of new avenues of bilateral investment.

The meeting concluded with the commitment to expand and cement bilateral relations between the two countries. The Sri Lankan side acknowledged that Pakistan has been a long-time trading partner, a closer ally and shared that Sri Lanka is eagerly awaiting the next visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Colombo.

Prospects for improving trade through mutual cooperation and facilitation were also discussed.

The heads of the two delegations emphasized the need to use this forum to further strengthen the existing bilateral trade and investment ties between the two countries and also expressed their commitment to improve trade relations by removing various impediments.

A meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Provincial Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mian Aslam Iqbal, in which the performance of Punjab Small Industries Corporation, the objectives achieved and the future course of action were reviewed.

PSIC Managing Director Jameel Ahmed Jameel provided a detailed report on the progress and future priorities of the Punjab Rozgaar Plan. Provincial Minister of Industries and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal, addressing the meeting, said that the provision of easy loans under the Punjab Rozgar Plan will start next week. Easy loans ranging from Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 10 million were provided to applicants under the Plan.

Said Punjab Rozgaar Plan is worth more than Rs. 30 billion have been released according to the Prime Minister’s vision to provide employment and more than 1.6 million people will get employment under this scheme, the provincial Minister said, adding that the Punjab Rozgar Scheme will provide resources to trained youth to start. their own business. The loans are granted to companies affected by the crown on a priority basis.

The provincial minister in charge of guaranteeing unavailable facilities in small industrial estates, the provincial minister said that the PSIC must prepare a comprehensive presentation on the objectives achieved during the last two and a half years and the employment opportunities created.

He also ordered PSIC and TEVTA to work together for the upgrade of five to six industrial conglomerates, the development of a business incubation center, and the provision of loans to TEVTA’s trained and past apprentices through the Punjab Rozgaar Scheme.

He directed that PSIC should prepare a self-sustaining model. Industry and Commerce Secretary Wasif Khurshid, Executive Director of the Punjab Investment Board, TEVTA officials as well as interested officials attended the meeting.

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