Pakistan – Sri Lanka Business Forum (PSLBF) was launched on February 09, 2005 when Her Excellency, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Pakistan Sri Lanka Business Forum (PSLBF) and Sri-Lankan Business Council. PSLBF has its Headquarters in Karachi and eventually chapters would be established in other cities of Pakistan.
The aims and objectives of the Forum shall be the encouragement, furtherance and promotion of business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the industrial and business communities of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has in principle agreed to be the partners in Sri Lanka and extend all support, cooperation and assistance. The Forum shall be non-political, non-profit and non-partisan.
The establishment of PSLBF immediately ushered the colorful historical events simultaneously as follows:
- The President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the Prime Minister of Pakistan at a glittering ceremony on February 09, 2005 in Islamabad signed the First Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.
The salient features of FTA are :-
a ) FTA promises to bring two SAARC nations more closer economically, politically and culturally.
b ) FTA removes barriers to trade and provides a legal framework for them to conduct and expand business.
c ) FTA immediately gives duty free access to =02 tariff lines for Sri Lankan goods and 206 tariff lines for Pakistani commodities.
d ) Pakistani business houses can import from Sri Lanka duty free “natural rubber“; “all coconuts products”; “spices”; “natural graphite; “paper and paper products”; “copper and aluminium products”; Pakistan has granted zero duty quota for 10,000 m/tons Tea, 1200 m/tons of Betal leaves @ preferential marjin of 35%; 6000 m/tons of Basmati rice and 1000 m/tons of potatoes per annum.
- Pakistan Sri Lankan Business Forum and the Sri Lankan Pakistan Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding. The MOU was signed by Mr. Abdul Rauf Tabani, Voice Chairman of Tabani Group and Deva Radrigo, President of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in presence of following dignitaries:-
I ) President of Sri Lanka Her Excellency, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.
II ) Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar
III ) Federal Minister of Pakistan Mr. Liaquat Jatoi
IV ) High Commissioner of Sri Lanka General Srilal Weerasooriya
V ) Mr. Majyd Aziz, Founder Chairman of PSLBF
VI ) Prominent businessmen Mr. Muhammad Yaqub Tabani, Mr. Aziz Memon, Mr. Farukh Mazhar and Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka, Mr. Obaid and Mr. Pervez Hanif, Sohail Afzal of FPCCI etc.
The Salient features of this MOU will give access to both the Governments and business houses of both the countries for promotion of bilateral trade, establishment of Air-links by private Airlines and extension of Sri Lankan Airlines operation on Lahore-Colombo route and investment opportunities for Pakistanis in setting-up in Sri-Lanka flour-mills, pharmaceutical plants, software, hosiery, undertaking mega construction development projects; shipping and cargo handling endeavors, and Trading Houses etc. and to allow Sri Lankan citizens for grant of Visas to them on arrival.