ISLAMABAD Nov 11 (APP): Commerce Minister Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan has underscored the need to explore ways for expanding trade relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka within the framework of the free trade agreement between the two countries.

He called for broadening as well as deepening the economic ties, through enhancement of trade and bilateral investments.

The minister was speaking at a dinner-reception hosted in his honour by Pakistani High Commissioner to Colombo Syed Shakeel Hussain, according to a message received here Wednesday.

The minister of commerce will be heading the Pakistani delegation at the delegation level talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart, besides attending the high level Business Interaction Forum during the remaining part of his visit to Sri Lanka.

Khurram Dastgir said that he had brought four significant pieces of information from Pakistan for the Sri Lankan friends which are related to strengthening of democracy in Pakistan, successful tackling of violent terrorism and return of peace, revival of economy and steps to eliminate power and energy crisis.

He also thanked the people and government of Sri Lanka for warm welcome and hospitality extended to him.

He said Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been enjoying exceptionally cordial and friendly ties.

He highlighted the potentials of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to enhance growth, development and connectivity of the South Asia region.

Sri Lankan Minister for Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister for Ports Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Public Administration and Management Ranjith Madumma Bandara, Minister for Fisheries, Mahinda Amaraweera, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thilanka Sumathipala, Deputy Minister Mrs. Sudharshini Fernandopulle, Malick Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategy and International Trade, Minister for Transport, Nimil Siripala, Mayor of Colombo, members of Pak-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Association, high ranking government officials President and members of Sri Lankan Pakistan Trade Investment and Friendship Association, Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council as well as top business personalities from Pakistan and Sri Lanka attended the reception.

In his welcome address, Pakistan’s High Commissioner Syed Shakeel Hussain said the visit of Pakistan’s Commerce Minister will boost the strong existing bilateral ties between the two nations.