KARACHI: The Sri Lankan exporters have expressed concern over imposition of regulatory duties on some essential items by the Pakistan government, a diplomat said.
Highlighting some of the hurdles, which are hampering bilateral trade, Sri Lankan Consul General G L Gnanatheva said that these duties have badly affected the Sri Lankan exports to Pakistan.
“Because of overnight imposition of regulatory duties, Sri Lankan exporters are not interested in enhancing trade and further exploring the Pakistani markets,” he said.
“Although there is a good potential to improve trade ties, but our exporters are reluctant to take any initiative and we cannot convince them due to uncertain trade policies in Pakistan,” he said, while speaking at a meeting during his maiden visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.
The Sri Lankan diplomat stressed for making collective efforts to improve the existing trade volume between Sri Lanka and Pakistan by exploring more trade opportunities and defining a clear roadmap for trade, investment and exports growth.
Sri Lanka was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with Pakistan in 2005, which was the most successful FTA, as the business communities of the two countries received several benefits from it, he said.
However, it has been observed that most of the benefits under this FTA largely remain unutilised by the two countries, Gnanatheva added.
There was a need to organise a forum for the businessmen of Pakistan and Sri Lanka to identify the obstacles and trading potential that exists between the two countries.
Besides they should also seek ways on how to further improve the FTA to make it more vibrant, the Sri Lankan consul general added.
KCCI President Junaid Esmail Makda said that the Karachi chamber has opposed the imposition of regulatory duty on many essential items, as it was not a wise move, but due to depleting foreign exchange reserves of the country, the government had to impose regulatory duty to stay afloat.
“Hopefully, the situation would improve as soon as the foreign exchange reserves and the economy stabilise,” he added.
“We will convey Sri Lanka’s concerns over the imposition of regulatory duties with quarters concerned in Islamabad so that the issue could be amicably resolved,” he added.