Sri Lankan government to move fast on finalizing free trade agreements with Thailand and Bangkok
Managing Director of Sri Lanka’s Agency for Development, Mangala Yapa has reportedly said that the government will continue to move forward on trade deal negotiations with the next round of discussions with Thailand in two weeks and a joint feasibility study for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh set to kick off.
The Agency for Development is under the purview of the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry.
Yapa has made this observation while speaking at the panel discussion on FTAs organized by the Young Professionals Organization (YPO) of the UNP.
He has reportedly noted that the government remained dedicated to integrating with the global market.
Negotiations for an FTA with Thailand were launched by President Maithripala Sirisena and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and the first round of negotiations was held on 13 July.
“The next round of negotiations should take place within two weeks,” Yapa has said.
He has added that the 11th negotiation for the Economic and Technical Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) with India would also be held within two weeks.
“We are also thinking about getting into an agreement with Bangladesh, there is a joint feasibility that will soon be completed,” Yapa has been quoted as saying.
Speaking on the importance of staying in line with other countries within the region, he has said that Sri Lanka should stay integrated with the growing global market.
The statement by the head of the Agency for Development about the government’s commitment to move ahead with the FTAs with Thailand and Bangladesh as well as the ETCA with India is an encouraging sign for foreign direct investments. Sri Lanka already has several trade agreements with foreign countries and enjoys trade concessions from the EU and US. The addition of more trade agreements would make Sri Lanka an attractive trade hub in the Indian Ocean region. Foreign businesses/investors could, therefore, explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka.
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