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Cabinet nod to review trade pacts under negotiation

10 February 2021 08:55 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Govt. to study possibility of entering into new regional and bilateral trade agreements 

The Cabinet nod has been received to review the trade pacts that are under negotiation, and to explore possibility of entering into new bilateral and multilateral trade pacts.


Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana on Monday submitted a resolution to the Cabinet of Ministers to re-initiate discussions by reviewing such agreements still under discussion in accordance with ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour,’ the policy manifesto of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. 


Sri Lanka has several free trade agreements (FTAs) under negotiation with China, Thailand and an Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) with India.

The negotiations with India and China were at an advanced stage. However, FTA negotiations with China remain deadlocked since early 2017 due to disagreements over issues concerning trade in goods.


In addition, a feasibility study on the proposed Sri Lanka-Bangladesh trade pact has also been concluded. 


The resolution also sought approval to study the possibility of entering into new regional and bilateral trade agreements in the future.


Last year, Sri Lanka’s apex investment promotion body, Board of Investment (BOI), announced that it was eyeing new trade agreements with key trading partners—Japan, China, European Union (EU), United States and United Kingdom (UK)— over the next three years.


Further, countries such as Vietnam have also expressed interest on bilateral trade agreement with Sri Lanka.


The Government Information Department noted that although Sri Lanka has entered into several such accords, Sri Lanka has not gained expected results from them.


Sri Lanka as of now has FTAs with India, Pakistan and Singapore.


The Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA came into force in 2018, covering investment, goods, services, trade facilitation, government procurement, telecommunications, e-commerce, and dispute settlement.  


The Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA has drawn criticism from the current government and its allies. 


In addition, Sri Lanka is also a member of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and the Asia-Pacific Trade 
Agreement (APTA).

 

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