FTA tends to limit innovation - Pakistan's HC
Loadstar wins gold at NCE ceremony
The High Commissioner for Pakistan in Sri Lanka Shahzad A. Chaudhry
said that he sometimes feels that the FTA tends to limit our innovation.
Expressing his views on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka
and Pakistan, he said it provides for a sustainable but modest trade in
commodities, which are greatly independent on establishing consumer
patterns. To really grow beyond these traditional commodities we need to
look beyond the FTA.
We need to expand the FTA to include services and investments. We
must include some SME related products and Engineering goods in our
trade to give a real buoyancy to our trade relations. More importantly
we need to review and revise our traditional images of each other while
we continue to be too strong and resilient friends.
We have the capability to be a lot more to each other and we must not
let the opportunity go waste.
High Commissioner Chaudry who was the chief guest at the 15th annual
NCE Export Awards Ceremony on Friday at the Hilton Colombo said that Sri
Lanka's trading tradition, entrepreneurial innovation and a strong sense
of international linkage has always kept our economy buoyant. An over
six bln US$ export in 2006 with all signs of being bettered in 2007 is a
sign of robust growth.
"Many people have asked me how does Sri Lanka manage a 7% growth
rate, when a war is on and the economy is seriously afflicted. I also
add with some sense of grief it is not what they perform despite war, it
is what they fail to achieve because of the war. High Commissioner
Chaudhry said that without war this economy would have been galloping
now for some time at between 10-12%. It is that 5% loss of growth that I
count in your otherwise very potent economy.
But when nations must accept challenges and sacrifice when they have
to 7% is still a whopping growth rate. "Sri Lanka's exports to Pakistan
however, or at least an emerging trend therein is a cause for concern.
Although these have improved considerably from a measly US$28 mln in
2002 to around US$60 mln in 2006 with a consistent increasing trend what
I notice this year worries me," he said.
You are likely to stay stagnated at around the same figure if not
less. I think the chamber must look at it closely to uncover the latent
reasons and this is despite us encouraging all of you to partake in the
emerging opportunities in Pakistan. He said that he only noticed two
notable successes in the last year. One of Orange Electric who have
broken into the Pakistan market successfully and the other your highly
regarded brand Dankotuwa who are in the process of setting foot now in
High Commissioner Chaudhry said that Governments and missions could
only take the horses to the pools, the horses must drink at their own
accord and with some effort.
Loadstar (Pvt) Ltd. won the Most Outstanding Exporter for the Year
2006 gold award at the Awards ceremony.
The silver award was won by Colombo Dockyard Ltd. The Best woman
exporter gold award was won by Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd. while Serendib
Exports won the silver award. The award for the best Sri Lankan Brand
exporter was won by Imperial Tea Export (Pvt) Ltd. Organised by the
National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) to recognise
achievement and excellence, 101 awards were presented in the sectors of
Agriculture value added, tea sector bulk, tea sector value added,
Industry, garments and services/suppliers to exporters.
In each sector winners in the small, medium, large and extra large
exporter category were honoured with gold, silver, bronze medals and
The NCE was set up in 1986 with 30 small and medium exporters to be
the voice of the exporters and it has grown to represent all exporters.