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PM Invites Lankan Businessmen To Invest In CPEC Projects

COLOMBO: Inviting the Sri Lankan business community to take part in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasised on improving trade links among the countries of the sub-continent to bring people out of poverty.

Addressing the first Pakistan-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Conference, organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) in Colombo during his two-day official visit to Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister said the way forward for the sub-continent is to resolve differences and improve trade relationships.

He said, “Our difference is only the Kashmir issue, which should be resolved as per the UN resolutions.” He added that differences can only be resolved through dialogue. He further said, “Our problems are subservient to trade and investment.”

He reiterated that Pakistan desires a peaceful solution to all regional disputes through comprehensive dialogues. He also offered Pakistan’s mediation between China and the United States (US).

He said the current Pakistan government has taken a number of steps towards ease of doing business, and removing impediments in the way of investment. He said as a result of these measures, Pakistan improved by 28 points in ease of doing business in the world.

PM Imran Khan invited the Sri Lankan business community to participate in the CPEC projects that open the opportunity for them right up to Central Asia. He said that incentives have been offered to the business community to invest in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being established in Pakistan.

He said, “We can learn from Sri Lanka in tourism.” He noted that Pakistan has enormous potential in tourism, including unique mountains, coastal line and also religious tourism.

Imran Khan said that he came to politics with the dream of a welfare state and poverty alleviation. Poverty can be eliminated through investment, he asserted. He said that it is necessary to end the role of the middle man to control inflation. He was of the view that China has reduced the role of the middle in businesses by using technology and brought 700 million people out of the poverty line.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Advisor to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and others have attended the conference.

Addressing the ceremony, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan’s focus has now been shifted from geo-politics to geo-economics. He said the current government is committed to taking advantage of the geographical location of Pakistan to make it an economic hub.

He said economic diplomacy is also one of the most important components of Pakistan’s foreign policy to give a boost to economic activities. The minister said that Pakistan’s economic indicators are on the positive trajectory.

He said Pakistan has taken numerous steps to ensure ease of doing business and remarkable achievements have been made in this regard. He said the country’s real estate and housing sectors are also flourishing and contributing to the country’s progress and prosperity.

Speaking on the occasion, Abdul Razak Dawood said that Pakistan’s economy has shown remarkable turnaround during the Covid-19. He added that Pakistan provides great opportunities to businessmen to come, invest and enjoy the lucrative environment there. He stressed the business communities of both countries to work hard to further build economic relations.

Addressing the ceremony, the Sri Lankan State Minister for Commerce added that bilateral cooperation in trade is of vital importance to alleviate poverty. He stressed the need for promotion of South-South dialogue and partnership.

He noted that both countries need to enhance cooperation in trade and investment. He believed the resource gap can also be bridged with the promotion of investment.

The conference was also attended by the top dignitaries of both countries and around 40 leading Pakistani businesspersons. Both countries have shown willingness to engage in effective Business to Business (B2B) meetings for enhancing cooperation in key sectors including textile, pharmaceutical, construction, information technology (IT), agriculture and tourism. TLTP

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