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Trade Minister discusses bilateral cooperation with Iraqi envoy

May 30, Colombo (LNW): Trade Minister Nalin Fernando met with the Iraqi envoy, Mohammed Obaid Jabur Zahir Al-Masoudi, to discuss the upcoming ninth session of the Iraq-Sri Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation forum, scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka this November.

This forum is expected to significantly enhance bilateral relations between the two nations, according to a statement from the Ministry.

During the meeting, Minister Fernando briefed the envoy on Sri Lanka’s current economic situation and emphasised the need for international support beyond just financial assistance, highlighting the importance of cooperation across various sectors.

The Iraqi envoy encouraged Sri Lankan investors to explore business opportunities in Baghdad and Kurdistan, noting that Iraq is a major importer of Sri Lankan tea and home to approximately 150,000 Sri Lankan workers.

The discussion also touched on the potential re-establishment of a Sri Lankan Embassy in Iraq to address issues such as visa processing and taxation on goods.

This initiative would be carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Additionally, the envoy highlighted the advantages of direct shipping routes, which would facilitate faster and more convenient trade between Sri Lanka, Europe, and Middle Eastern countries.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce, A.M.P.M.B. Athapaththu, and officials from the Department of Commerce.

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