Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessing a Memoranda of Understanding signing ceremony between Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama and Singaporean counterpart S. Iswaran at the Istana in Singapore yesterday
Singapore and Sri Lanka have started talks for a free trade pact, including measures to free up trade in goods and services as well as investments, Singapore Trade Minister S. Iswaran said yesterday.
Sri Lanka’s push to build infrastructure and develop its industries presented prospects for Singapore firms to partner with companies in the Indian Ocean nation and contribute to its growth, Iswaran said in a statement.
“Amidst an uncertain economic environment, Sri Lanka offers good potential for Singapore companies looking to tap opportunities in new markets,” he said.
Sri Lanka was Singapore’s 39th largest trading partner last year, with two-way trade of US $ 2.05 billion (US $ 1.52 billion), Singapore’s Trade and Industry Ministry said.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s The Strait Times reported that Sri Lanka entered into a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with International Enterprise (IE) Singapore to collaborate in the development of Western Region Megapolis.
The Strait Times said the agreement was the first MoU signed between Sri Lanka and a Singapore government agency, paving the way for stronger bilateral investment and economic partnerships.
IE Singapore Assistant Chief Executive Officer Tan Soon Kim and Megapolis and Western Development (MoMWD) Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe signed the MoU at the Istana.
The signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently on an official visit to Singapore.
The Western Region Megapolis is a flagship development, which comprises of 142 projects estimated at US $ 40 billion over the next 15 years.
“Given its accelerated growth, the Western Region Megapolis is a good first stop for Singapore companies to consider when doing business in Sri Lanka. The MoU signed between IE Singapore and MoMWD creates a platform for Singapore and Sri Lankan companies to partner each other in the urban solutions and connectivity sectors,” Tan Soon Kim said.
Sri Lanka’s Western Province accounts for 40 percent of the country’s economy and 29 percent of the population. The government aims to triple the region’s per capita income to US $ 12,000 (S $ 16,200) by 2020, targeting an average annual growth rate of 7-8 percent over the next 14 years.