The EDB organized a seminar on “Export opportunities in the Pakistan Market” with the objective of increasing awareness of the market opportunities available in the Pakistan market for Sri Lankan products.
The Seminar was held on 28th June 2017 at the EDB Auditorium with the participation over 100 industrialists.
The seminar covered areas of business opportunities in Pakistan, concessions available under PSFTA, industry experience in doing business with Pakistan and also shared the information of the desk research done by the EDB and the findings of study done by the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Karachi on Sri Lanka Tea in Pakistan Market.
Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra , Acting. High Commissioner, Pakistan High Commission said that Sri Lanka Pakistan friendship is very important and explained the potential for the development of trade between the two countries.
Mr. Adnan Younis Lodhi, Commercial Secretary - Pakistan High Commission, said that the progress of the FTA is now stagnated and that there is a need to agree on a deeper FTA with more product coverage along with Services and Investment chapters if we wish to see faster growth in economic relations. He also announced that Sri Lanka has been granted the “Guest Country” status at the Expo Pakistan exhibition to be held in Karachi in November 2017. This is the first occasion that Pakistan recognized a foreign country as the ‘Guest Country” and this was granted to Sri Lanka under the MOU between EDB and Trade Development Authority in Pakistan.
Mr.G.L.Gnanatheva Deputy Director, Department of Commerce provided detailed information on the Pakistan- Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, its utilization and trend in consumer behavior of Pakistan towards our main exports of betel leaves, tea etc.
Mr. Rohitha Thilakaratne, President, Pakistan - Sri Lanka Business Council stressed the need of visits of regular trade delegations, exhibitions in order to create the stronger relationship between the two countries’ business communities. Mr. Ifthikhar Aziz, President, Sri Lanka - Pakistan Friendship, Trade & Investment Association also shared the experiences of working with Pakistan business community and the opportunities available for Sri Lankan companies in Pakistan.
Exports to Pakistan was less than 1% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to the world. Sri Lanka needs to increase exports and expand production facilities where there is potential for trade. In addition to the present exports, electronic and electrical components, value added rubber products, porcelain products, paper products, processed food. Gems & Jewellery can be identified as potential products for exports to Pakistan. There are products for which there is high demand in Pakistan and adequate production in Sri Lanka, but lesser tariff concessions under the FTA. Therefore, it is needed to develop strategies to explore opportunities in the Pakistan market for these products.
Pakistan Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) came into force on 12th June 2005. Pakistan implemented its final phasing out commitment and Sri Lanka has now duty free market access for more than 4500 products. Approximately over 7,000 Certificates of Origin are issued annually under the PSFTA for Sri Lankan companies.
Sri Lanka’s export to Pakistan which was US $ 43 Mn. in 2005 has marginally increased to US $ 64 Mn in 2016. However, Sri Lanka’s imports from Pakistan which was US $ 116 Mn. in 2005 has increased to US $ 281 Mn in 2010, US $ 297 Mn in 2015 and US $ 304 Mn in 2016 with an average growth of 9% during 2005-2016 period. (Source: Sri Lanka Customs) The major export products to Pakistan are; Tea, Betel leaves, Coconuts, Wood charcoal, Pepper of the genius piper etc. Sri Lanka’s export product basket need to be diversified to Pakistan as Sri Lanka’s main exports products in primary form earning lower value export value. Only a few new products entered the Pakistan market including paper products & finished rubber products.
During the seminar, Sri Lankan companies of herbal cosmetic sector, fishery sector, aquarium fish sector, and tea and rubber tyre sectors raised their concerns mainly in the areas of FTA concessions, market access and the potential in the Pakistan market for their products.
Sri Lanka is aiming to achieve export earnings of US $ 20 million in 2020. To reach this target, the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) should be exploited strategically considering that Pakistan being the 2nd largest economy in South Asia.
The EDB has planned a series of activities to increase exports to Pakistan. As a first step the EDB do a market research on Pakistan market for selected potential products with the assistance of a research consultancy company. The ultimate objective of this study is to identify a strategy to penetrate Pakistan market for the selected Sri Lankan products and create linkage between the Sri Lankan companies and the Pakistani buyers. These findings will be disseminated later to the Sri Lankan companies through an information seminar and also by publishing on the EDB website. The Sri Lanka country pavilion will be organized with the participation of group of Sri Lankan companies at the Expo Pakistan exhibition in Karachi, in November this year. A Business Forum and B2B Session will also be arranged to coincide with our participation at this exhibition in Karachi. Therefore, the interested companies could participate at the Expo Pakistan exhibition and other parallel events in Pakistan in November 2017.