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09 November, 2015 08:58 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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The Federal Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, is arriving in Sri Lanka on a three-day official visit to boost bilateral investment and trade between the two countries.
He will be accompanied by a high-powered business delegation consisting of cement, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, sugar, shipping, construction and manufacturing sector companies.

The visit of the Commerce Minister is planned, in furtherance to the understanding reached between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, to take bilateral trade and investment to new heights, during the latter’s visit to Islamabad in April 2015.
 During his stay in Sri Lanka, Khan is scheduled to meet Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena as well as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.  
The Minister will also call on Sri Lankan Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Public Administration and Management Ranjith Madduma Bandara and Minister for Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka during the visit.
Khan will also participate in the first official high-level Business Interaction Forum between the two countries, organised by the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka. The Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business Interaction Forum is planned to be held in Colombo on 11 November, with the participation of prominent business representatives from both sides.
Khan has revitalised Pakistan’s trade diplomacy at the Ministry of Commerce. He spearheaded the successful campaign to obtain GSP+ trade preferences for Pakistan from the European Union.
His vigorous diplomacy has led to the start of Pakistan’s negotiations for free trade agreements with Turkey and Thailand. Under his stewardship, the Ministry of Commerce has revamped national trade protection laws, obtained approval for Pakistan’s accession to TIR convention and has successfully concluded institutional reforms of the ministry itself as well as its attached departments. He has steered the drive for a qualitative shift towards value-addition and diversification in Pakistan’s exports.
Khan was elected from his native city of Gujranwala to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2008 and re-elected in 2013. During the 2008-13 Parliament, he earned distinction as Chair of the Standing Committee on Commerce and as a member of the Public Accounts Committee.
Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region whereas Sri Lanka is the first country to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan in July 2002 with it being operational from June 2005.
Pakistan is an important export market for tea, followed by copra, rubber, betel leaves and tamarind. Similarly, for Pakistan, Sri Lanka is an important market for cement, GI Pipe, textiles, pharmaceuticals, machinery and agricultural items.

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