ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka should work towards increasing the existing trade volume to $1.5 billion by 2015 by making Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries more conducive.
President Mamnoon Hussain desired here on Saturday during meeting with Minister for Irrigation and Water Resources Management of Sri Lanka Nimal Siripala De Silva who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Pakistan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations and way forward to further strengthening the existing equation was discussed during the meeting.
The president while expressing satisfaction over the existing ties of the two countries observed that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Sri Lanka and noted that there exists strong political will in Pakistan to further develop and promote its bilateral relations with Sri Lanka.
Referring to the meetings between the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the president of Sri Lanka in New York in September 2013 and in Colombo in November 2013, the president observed that such high level interactions would serve to boost the bilateral relations and would provide momentum to the efforts aimed at further promoting mutual cooperation in various areas for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries.
The president said that there exists huge potential especially in economic sectors that needs to be fully tapped. He said that concerted efforts were required to avail the existing economic opportunities for enhancing mutual cooperation. In this regard the president said that both the sides should work towards increasing the existing trade volume to $1.5 billion by 2015. He underscored the need to make FTA between the two countries more conducive by increasing the volume of trade. Mutual exchange of business delegations and greater interaction among the business communities of the two countries would provide impetus to these efforts, said the president.
Discussing mutual cooperation and support of the country to Sri Lanka in overcoming various challenges including the threat from terrorism, the President appreciated the valiant struggle waged by government and the people of Sri Lanka against the menace of terrorism. He assured the visiting Minister that Pakistan would continue providing support to Sri Lanka at all foras including the international forums.
De Silva thanked the president and the government of Pakistan for the support to his country and said that Sri Lankan government and people were also keen to further strengthen their relations with the government and the people of Pakistan.
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