ISLAMABAD, Jul 11 (APP): Pakistan has agreed to initially providing 25,000 matric ton non basmati rice to Sri Lanka on urgent basis, that would be procured on government to government basis. A delegation of Sri Lanka arrived here on Monday (July 10) to negotiate with the Pakistani team to finalize the issue of exporting 300,000 tons rice to Sri Lanka. A high level Sri Lankan delegation led by Secretary Ministry of Commerce and industry, Chinthaka S. Lokuhetti started bilateral negotiations for reaching the final agreements to export non-basmati rice to Sri Lanka, Senior official of ministry of commerce told APP here on Tuesday. A meeting in this regard held here in ministry of Commerce headed by Secretary Commerce Younas Dhaga in which the two side also discussed about signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Trade Corporation of Pakistan and Cooperative Wholesale Establishment(CWE) of Sri Lanka for sullying commodities.
The Chairman TCP, Mushtaq Ahmed Sheikh and representatives of local rice association also participated in negotiation. He said that domestic production of rice in Sri Lanka was low and they are willing to import non Basmati rice from Pakistan. It may be mentioned here that Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was operational from 2005. He said under the FTA, both of the country have already agreed to offer preferential market access to each others’ exports by way of granting tariff concessions. Additionally, he said according to FTA, Sri Lanka would be able to enjoy duty free market access on 206 products in the Pakistani market including tea, rubber and coconut. Pakistan, in return, would gain duty free access on 102 products in the Sri Lankan market,including oranges, basmati/non basmati rice and engineering goods.