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Sunday, 28 September 2014

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Qatar seeks Lanka's support for WTO initiative on natural gas

Qatar has called upon Sri Lanka to support its WTO initiative on natural has and shown keenness for a larger bilateral trade and economic engagement with Sri Lanka.

"Both countries, despite having a huge potential to expand cooperation in commerce and investment, have not fully exploited it," Minister of Economy and Commerce of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani told the opening session of the first Qatar-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Cooperation meeting in Doha, Qatar recently.


Minister Bathiudeen and members of the Sri Lanka delegation at the first Qatar-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Cooperation meeting.

"There should be greater effort and we should pursue these objectives more vigorously. We also look forward to Sri Lanka's support for our initiative on natural gas and derivatives of environmental goods which has been submitted to the World Trade Organisation," he said.

The 10-member Sri Lanka delegation was led by Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.

Officials from Ministries of Finance and Planning, Fisheries, Cultural Affairs and Industry and Commerce and the Department of Planning were among the members of the Lankan delegation.

Commerce Department Director General R. D. S. Kumararatne led the technical sessions.

"The signing of an Agreement on Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation and the Agreement for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, between the two countries in 2012, and many other Agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with various entities in Sri Lanka, shows that both countries, despite having huge potential to expand cooperation in commerce and investment, have not fully exploited it," Minister Al Thani said.

"We appreciate what Sri Lankan companies are doing in Qatar in the fields of construction, services and furniture. We also look forward to more Sri Lankan private sector contribution in the promotion of trade and development," he said.

"However, there has been only a marginal volume of bilateral trade estimated at Qatari Riyal 327 million in 2013, which is below our expectations. We look forward to further expansion and the overcoming of all constraints and obstacles which impact trade between the two countries," the Qatari Minister said.

There should be more effort to enhance trade and investment opportunities through the promotion and improvement of relations between the two sides and through the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, he said.

"We should also exchange visits by businessmen. We look forward organising trade fairs and

cultural events to understand and recognise the culture and heritage of both parties and their different products," Minister Al Thani said.

"We also look forward to Sri Lanka's support for our initiative on natural gas and derivatives of environmental goods which has been submitted to the World Trade Organisation," he said.

 

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