Zardari for enhancing Pak-Lanka economic coop

KARACHI - President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday assured Sri Lanka of providing soft-term credit facility for the export of Pakistani cement and sugar plants to it. He was talking to a Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation headed by Speaker of Parliament Chamal Jayantha Rajapakse that called on him at Governor House. Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza and Chairman of Board of Investment Saleem Mandviwala were also present on the occasion. The Sri Lankan delegation included beside others Minister for Disaster Management Sri Lanka Mohammad Fowzie Abdul Hameed. President Zardari said that Pakistani entrepreneurs should invest in Sri Lanka and its government must provide incentives, including repatriation of investment to attract investment from Pakistan. He also stressed for enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries, including exchange of gem and stone cutting experts from Sri Lanka to Pakistan and Pakistani experts to Sri Lanka. He added, Pakistan can train police and intelligence officers of Sri Lanka. The President underlined the need for increasing export of Sri Lankan tea to Pakistan and said that bilateral trade should be in local currency. Chamal Rajapakse said that Sri Lanka fully supported Pakistans efforts and role regarding war on terror to curb terrorism in the country and around the world. He highly appreciated Pakistans support extended to Sri Lankan army for combating against terrorism in the peninsula. The Sri Lankan delegation also shown keen interest in Gandhara and Taxila archeological sites. Sri Lanka is the first country with whom Pakistan signed free trade agreement FTA which has doubled bilateral trade in the last few years to 400 million dollar and both the nations have set a target to take the two-way trade to 2 billion dollar by 2012.

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