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Sri Lanka strengthens core FTA negotiation team

10 August 2018 12:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Cabinet of Ministers this week approved a Cabinet proposal presented by Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama to institutionally strengthen Sri Lanka’s main trade negotiation team, with the addition of Central Bank Senior Deputy Governor Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe and experts from technical committees, bringing the number of negotiators to 17, ahead of the last rounds of the ETCA and China-Sri Lanka FTA negotiations.


Speaking to Mirror Business, Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry Secretary Chandanie Wijayawardhana revealed that the main committee was reformulated in order to include several experts in areas of investments, technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and legal provisions from technical sub-committees, to strengthen the main negotiation team.


Dr. Weerasinghe was added to the team to represent the Central Bank.   


Wijayawardhana said the experts, who are already in sub-committees, are representatives from the Sri Lanka Standard Institution, Quarantine Department, Board of Investment, Foreign Ministry and an additional representative from the Attorney General’s Department. 


The Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry in particular expects to push forward with negotiations of SPS/TBT chapters, with inclusion of experts from the Sri Lanka Standard Institution and Quarantine Department to the main trade negotiation body, by providing them with institutional responsibilities. 
Sri Lanka’s FTA negotiation team is led by the chief negotiator, K.J. Weerasinghe, who is a former Director General of Commerce. The other members are Finance Ministry Trade and Tariff Department Director General K.A. Wimalenthirajah, Finance Ministry Economic Advisor Deshal de Mel, Dr. Ravi Rathnayake, Dr. Nihal Samarappuli, Dr. Arittha Wickkramanayake, Customs Additional Director General S. Rajendran, Commerce Director Nimal Karunathilake, Commerce Director A. Dharmapriya and Attorney General’s Department Senior State Council N. Wigneswaran. 


Wijayawardhana noted that though it’s not a standard practice, the ministry has also included a private sector participant in the FTA negotiations as an observer. 
The National Trade Negotiating team consists of nine sub-committees and experts in the relevant fields each co-chairing and responsible for a negotiating sub-committee such as Goods, Services, Investments, SPS/TBT, Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation, Trade Remedies, Economic Cooperation and Legal Affairs. (NF) 

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