Finance minister for increasing South Asian trade

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar stated that the promotion of trade among members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) was a top priority for the newly elected Pakistani government.

The minister was meeting with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Air Chief Marshal (retd) Jayalath Weerakkody who called on him here on Monday.

The minister told the high commissioner of the PML-N government’s commitment to bolstering trade among SAARC countries and assured the envoy that the matter is being treated as a priority.

Senator Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan enjoys close relations with Sri Lanka and wishes to expand bilateral trade and economic relations between the two friendly countries as there existed a great untapped potential for mutual cooperation and trade.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner invited the finance minister to a meeting of the Joint Economic Commission of the two countries and expressed the hope that this meeting would further expand economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Weerakkody said that Sri Lanka was grateful for the support and cooperation extended by Pakistan and looks forward to further enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

The High Commissioner extended an invitation to Ishaq Dar on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government to visit Sri Lanka which he accepted in principle.

Pakistan has stepped up efforts to increase trade with regional partners like Sri-Lanka, Indonesia, South Korea and India to tap into areas of potential growth for Pakistan through trade liberalisation and free trade agreements.