Money from Pakistan for rice

Sri Lanka has obtained a USD 200 million credit line from Pakistan to import rice, cement and medicinal drugs, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

The proposals on the credit line was discussed during Minister Gunawardana’s recent official visit to Pakistan.

Importation of goods under the credit line will be carried out by the State Trading (General) Corporation. The Trade Ministry is to submit the draft agreement soon to the Finance Ministry.

Cement, Basmathi Rice and medicines manufactured in Pakistan would be imported this year under the credit line, the Minister added.

Minister Gunawardana also noted that Sri Lanka had only been able to export USD 500 million worth of goods to Pakistan under the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He said he held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan aimed at increasing the amount of exports to Pakistan under the FTA to USD 2 billion.

Meanwhile, more than 30,000 metric tonnes of Indian rice varieties, not known to be organic, have been imported in the past few weeks, and more stocks are expected in the next few weeks. Imports were permitted to make up for the local production shortfall due to the fertiliser crisis stemming from the government’s ban on chemical fertiliser and pesticides.

India has offered USD 500 million for food products purchase but Sri Lanka must use that money to purchase from India.

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