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Sri Lanka and Indonesia resume negotiations on PTA soon

Sri Lanka and Indonesia are to resume negotiations soon on the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries which was initiated during the previous regime in 2018. ,

Indonesian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dewi Gustina Tobing and Sri Lanka Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane agreed to resume immediate negotiations on the PTA between the two countries, SL Trade ministry confirmed.

They reached the agreement during a meeting at the office of the Sri Lanka Trade Minister on Friday (Feb 11, 2022), the Indonesian Embassy in Colombo said.

It is believed the negotiations on PTA will have a significant impact to enhance economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Hopefully, the PTA will allow more and more Indonesian products to enter the Sri Lanka market, the ambassador said.

“It (PTA) will allow (Indonesia) not only to meet Sri Lanka’s domestic needs but also to take maximum advantage of Sri Lanka’s potential as a hub for trade and part of free trade agreement in the Asian region,” she said.

Regarding Sri Lanka’s policy restricting and banning the import of non-essential products to the country, the ambassador said she has encouraged the Sri Lanka government to lift the policy so that trade between the two countries will not be disrupted.

Trade Minister Lanka Bandula Gunawardane said the import restriction and ban is temporary in nature and will be revoked in the near future.

The ambassador and the minister also discussed efforts to increase trade relations through a joint venture scheme and investment.

The Ambassador asked Sri Lanka to give Indonesian palm oil wider access to the Sri Lanka market.

While Sri Lanka pays attention to sustainable environment , she said the Indonesian agriculture and plantation also apply environmentally friendly standard and necessitate palm oil products to secure Indonesian Certificate of Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO).

In response, Minister Bandula expressed his country’s wish to import Indonesian palm oil under a credit scheme.

At the meeting, the ambassador also invited SL Trade Minister to visit Indonesia to follow up on potentials for trade cooperation between the two nations.

It 2019 the tow countries signed three MoUs in the fields of Search and Rescue (SAR) ; Higher Education, Research and Technology ; and, Cooperation against Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Chemical Precursors.

Recognising the vibrant maritime connectivity between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the two countries discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest pertaining to trade and investment, and reaffirmed their commitment to deepen and broaden economic collaboration.

They acknowledged the need to harness the untapped potential, which exists in the bilateral economic sphere and emphasised the need for the early establishment of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment.

They agreed that a joint feasibility study be undertaken for a possible comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement.

Both countries agreed to explore possibilities of capacity building in human resource development, agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, disaster management and vocational training.

Recognising the significance of bilateral defence cooperation, the two countries exchanged views on training of military personnel, combating illicit drug trafficking and sharing of intelligence.

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