Pakistan, Sri Lanka mulling Karachi-Puttalam sister city arrangements


Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Muhammad Haroon Agar appreciated the proposed initiative of Sister-City Arrangements between Karachi and Puttalam city of North Western Province of Sri Lanka.
Speaking with a delegation from Sri Lanka headed by, Chairman of Puttalam Urban Council of Sri Lanka, K. Abdul Baiz he emphasized the need to explore new avenues for bilateral economic and commercial cooperation. He opined that Puttalam Urban Council could join hands with Karachi Metropolitan Corporation on areas of mutual intrest whereas KCCI could extend cooperation to the business community of Puttalam in matters of trade. He asserted upon the need of frequent exchange of delegations and data based information on trade and markets and holding of single country exhibitions.
He said that Sri Lanka and Pakistan were friendly economies; however, efforts were required to further increase the two way trade as per existing potential between two countries because full trade potential Pakistan and Sri Lanka was in need of further exploration. Puttalam Urban Council Chairman K. Abdul Baiz said his delegation was visiting on the invitation from Administrator of KMC for deliberation on proposed Karachi-Puttalam Sister City Arrangements. He said that the situation was not as bad in Karachi as the electronic media portrayed. He agreed that Pak-Sri Lanka trade volume was not aligned with available trading potential, therefore, promotion of economic and commercial activities was essential. He informed that due to geographical proximity volume of Indian trade with Sri Lanka as compared to Pakistan was on higher side. He said that Sri Lanka attached importance to trade with Pakistan and in this regard there was a need to connect the business communities of two countries and explore new business opportunities. He said that “puttalam is producing coconut, sea-salt, shrimp, seafood while there was a huge demand of Pakistani Cows/ livestock and textile products in Sri Lanka, he informed.
Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz informed that during his tenure as President, KCCI took lead to organize joint meeting of representatives of both countries to provide input on Pak-Sri Lanka FTA. He proposed that KCCI along with some other leading Chambers of Pakistan should exert their influence on bilateral issues between two countries so that things ply on fast track. He said that existing intra-SAARC trade volume was not aligned with existing trade opportunities. Former President AQ Khalil, KCCI Senior Vice President Shamim Firpo, Vice President Nasir Mehmood and Managing Committee Members and officials from Karachi Metropolitan Corporation also participated in the meeting.