The International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL) welcomes Sri Lanka’s landmark ‘modern and comprehensive’ free trade agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and Singapore (SLSFTA), the first bilateral FTA to be signed after 20 years.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) works to champion evidence-based policies to shape the multilateral trade and investment agenda as a driver of growth, jobs and development.
The ICC is the leading business voice in the World Trade Organisation and other international forums – including the G20. The ICCSL is the local chapter of Paris-based ICC.
“The FTA with Singapore, one of the most liberalized economies in the region, will open many opportunities for Sri Lankan companies to access other ASEAN markets. Furthermore, the ICC champions free trade and sees this agreement as a positive step toward trade liberalization by the government of Sri Lanka,” said ICCSL Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody.
According to the release by the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry, the FTA covers goods, services, investment, trade remedies and dispute settlement, customs co-operation and trade facilitation, economic and technological cooperation, government procurement, e-commerce and intellectual property rights to name a few.
In addition, the FTA is expected to drive in more foreign direct investments into the country. The FTA includes for Sri Lanka a window to participate in government procurement. This would allow Singapore companies to participate in government projects.
Currently, Singapore accounts for only 5 percent of FDI inflows during 2014-17 and is the seventh largest investor with over 119 Singaporean companies operating in Sri Lanka.
The ICCSL further notes that there is a need for greater engagement with the private sector to ensure the FTA delivers value to the country.