Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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SL to enter into five Free Trade Agreements including Indonesia this year

By: Staff Writer

March 19, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka will be entering into five Free Trade Agreements: A Path to Economic Stability and Growth

FTA talks underway between India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and China Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry disclosed.

By the end of 2024, Sri Lanka aims to finalize free trade agreements with India, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. These agreements have the potential to significantly expand market access for Sri Lankan businesses and attract even more foreign investment.

Sri Lanka and Indonesia formally launched the negotiations for a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries recently. .

The Ministers conveyed that the commencement of the Sri Lanka-Indonesia PTA negotiations would serve as a step towards a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

He highlighted the recent FTA with Thailand as a historic step towards achieving President Wickremesinghe’s vision of a stable economy. He emphasized that this agreement has already provided Sri Lanka access to a USD 2.2 billion market, representing a significant advancement.

Sri Lanka and Indonesia Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) talks held virtually State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya led the Sri Lanka delegation and Indonesia’s team was led by its Vice Minister of Trade Jerry Sambuaga.

The Ministers conveyed that the commencement of the Sri Lanka-Indonesia PTA negotiations would serve as a step towards a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

They agreed that both countries are keen to strengthen bilateral trade relations and achieve meaningful market access under the proposed PTA. The Ministers expressed the hope that the PTA negotiations will be conducted

International Trade Office Chief Negotiator K.J. Weerasinghe revealed that following the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with Thailand on 3 February, Sri Lanka was looking to enter into a PTA, with discussions in this regard scheduled for March.

As part of the Government’s drive to expand Sri Lanka’s inventory of trade agreements, it was announced recently that Sri Lanka would also be seeking to enter into an FTA with Malaysia.

According to Weerasinghe, the first round of talks between Sri Lanka and Malaysia is likely to take place end-March. However, he said that both parties were yet to agree on a date and location.

In addition to these PTAs being considered, Sri Lanka has also been negotiating with India to upgrade the existing trade agreement between the two nations.

While India and Sri Lanka have entered into the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA), both nations have since attempted to upgrade the agreement by entering into an Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA).

Accordingly, Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardana on Monday (19) revealed that the 14th round of talks between Sri Lanka and India on the ETCA was scheduled to be held in New Delhi soon.

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