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Sri Lanka and India to complete ETCA technical talks by March

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka and India have agreed to conclude the technical level discussions of the Economic and Technology Co-operative Agreement (ETCA) by March, next year, with 13th round of negotiations slated from January 08 to 10, 2024.

Sri Lanka and India have held 12 rounds of ETCA negotiations up to now and the 13th round will be held in India from January 08 to 10, 2024.

Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardana said the Cabinet of Ministers reviewed the information submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe this week, regarding the outcomes of the 12 rounds of discussions, which were held from October 30 to November 01, 2023.

After a five-year pause, India and Sri Lanka resumed the discussions on the ETCA in November 2023.

After 11 rounds of negotiations conducted between 2016 and 2018, the talks between the two countries came to a halt amid heavy opposition from Sri Lankan trade unions and professional groups.

The negotiations are carried out by Sri Lanka’s International Trade Office, established under the Finance Ministry.

The 13th Round of Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) negotiations between Sri Lanka and India are scheduled to be held from January 08 to 10, the government says.

Accordingly, the next round of negotiations is planned to take place in India. Meanwhile, it has been decided to conclude the technical-level discussions of the ETCA by March 2024.

A delegation of 19 Indian officials, led by Shri Anant Swarup, Chief Negotiator and the Joint Secretary of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India, had visited Sri Lanka for the 12th round of discussions.

They engaged in extensive discussions on this comprehensive Agreement.The discussions during the 12th Round covered a wide range of topics, including Goods, Services, Rules of Origin, Trade remedies, Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Legal and Institutional Affairs.

Additionally, a special session was dedicated to addressing implementation-related issues of the existing India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA).

The resumption of ETCA negotiations represents a significant step towards strengthening the economic partnership between Sri Lanka and India.

The government earlier said it underlines the commitment of both nations to foster collaboration in various sectors, ultimately benefiting their economies and the well-being of their citizens.

As the talks progress, it is anticipated that this agreement will open up new avenues for trade and investment, bringing prosperity to both nations in the ever-evolving global landscape.

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