Pakistan eases tariff on three Lankan commodities
Boosting Lanka-Pakistan bilateral trade levels and cooperation ahead
of the next JEC meet, Pakistan has eased tariffs on three Lankan
commodities it directly imports from Sri Lanka, Ministry of Industry and
Commerce sources said. According to the Department of Commerce, Pakistan
imports 5,000-6,000 mt of betel leaves annually. Sri Lanka is the
largest supplier followed by Thailand, Bangladesh and India.
Pakistan is a large market for Sri Lanka’s betel leaves. Pakistan has
reduced Lankan betel import tariff by 35 percent. (In 2010, betel leaves
to the value of $ 5.77 million was exported to Pakistan). Pakistan has
also reduced tariff on Lankan crude coconut oil by 50 percent and with
effect from July, the crude coconut oil duty waiver will be 100 percent.
(In 2011, Sri Lanka exported crude coconut oil valued at $ 1.25 million
to Pakistan. Earlier, Pakistan agreed to remove crude coconut oil from
its no concession list and phase it out in two annual instalments and
provide market access for bottle-cooling machines on a margin of
preference of 50 percent).
Pakistan High Commissioner Maj Gen Qasim Qureshi said that many
opportunities under the Lanka–Pakistan FTA are not fully exploited and
it’s time to do so. “Our bilateral trade basket needs to be diversified
since it is concentrated around 4-5 major commodities.”
“For example, Pakistan has a big sugar industry but Sri Lanka does
not import sugar from Pakistan. Exploring a formal mechanism for
interaction of various bilateral Business Chambers to boost trade and
more importantly, investments,” he said.
There are 25 BOI projects undertaken by Pakistani investors in Sri
Lanka covering garments, chemicals, petroleum, rubber, plastics, leather
products, food and beverages, and tobacco.