Colombo, May 2 (IANS) Pakistan has now eased tariffs on three commodities it directly imports from Sri Lanka, the industry and commerce ministry said Thursday.
Tariffs have been increased on three items with the most tax exemptions provided to coconut oil exports from Sri Lanka, Xinhua quoted a ministry statement as saying.
Currently, there are 25 projects undertaken by Pakistani investors in Sri Lanka covering garments, chemicals, petroleum, rubber, plastics, leather products, food and beverages and tobacco.
“Sri Lanka’s import tariffs are a problem for Pakistan. But we have eased our import tariffs on three commodities from Sri Lanka, namely crude coconut oil, betel leaves and bottle cooling machines,” Pakistani High Commissioner Qasim Qureshi was quoted as saying.
Pakistan imports 5,000-6,000 tonnes of betel leaves annually. Sri Lanka is the largest supplier followed by Thailand, Bangladesh and India. Pakistan is the only single market for Sri Lanka’s betel leaves.
Pakistan has reduced the Sri Lankan betel import tariff by 35 percent. It has also reduced tariff on Sri Lankan crude coconut oil by 50 percent and with effect from July, the crude coconut oil duty waiver will be 100 percent.
Followed by India, Pakistan ranks as the second largest buyer of Sri Lankan products in South Asia, accounting for about 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s total exports to the region.
Bilateral trade between both countries experienced a substantial growth after the Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 2005.
Total trade which stood at $158 million in 2005 rose to $433.69 million in 2012, showing a strong 174 percent growth.