FTAs with Southeast Asian countries and introduce a trade adjustment scheme to help domestic industries
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister to push for FTAs with Southeast Asian countries and introduce a trade adjustment scheme to help domestic industries

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister to push for FTAs with Southeast Asian countries and introduce a trade adjustment scheme to help domestic industries

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe has reportedly said the country will push for free trade agreements (FTAs) with Southeast Asian countries and introduce a trade adjustment scheme to help domestic industries transition to competitive enterprises.
The Prime Minister has made this observation while introducing a five year National Export Strategy (NES) aimed at winning global markets.
NES 2018-2022 is expected to focus on developing the export sector by improving quality infrastructure, trade information and promotion, logistics and innovation.
Sri Lanka hopes to nearly double exports to US$ 28 billion by 2022.
“The key objective of NES is to increase capacity of Sri Lanka’s export industries, improve trade performance and ensure different sectors of the economy become more competitive to get a share of the global market,” Wickremasinghe has said at the launch.
“This is not only a strategy for national exports, but also to create better jobs and improve incomes of the people of this county,” he has noted.
The Premier has observed that authorities would meet with export industry representatives every six months to monitor and drive implementation of NES.
Sri Lanka was among the first countries to adopt open market economic policies in 1977.
“All developed economies of Asia are export economies, but we neglected this sector. Even China started after us, so did Vietnam. Bangladesh was a late starter, but now they are ahead of us.”
The government has pledged to develop the exports sector and adopt more open market economic policies, the Prime Minister has further noted.
“We got back GSP Plus and we concluded a free trade agreement with Singapore with both countries agreeing will not apply to movement of people despite what some shout about.
“We’re talking about an FTA with China, followed by Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. We want to deepen trade with India. We’re covering the whole Bay of Bengal which is going to be new markets for our exports,” Wickremasinghe has said.
However, there are natural fears about opening the economy.
The government has launched Enterprise Sri Lanka to assist local entrepreneurs and is also setting up new export processing zones to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) to export industries.
“We will set up a development bank to finance local enterprises but before we do that, we will ensure 10 billion rupees is available for local industries. These are some of the efforts we are taking,” the Prime Minister has said.
OSL take:
The statement by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister on entering in to FTAs with South East Asian nations in order to assist domestic industries transition to competitive enterprises would propel the country’s economic growth. Sri Lanka in May entered in to an FTA with Singapore and is now in the process of discussing an FTA with Thailand. Along with the EU and US trade concessions enjoyed by Sri Lanka, the country also has to its advantage FTAs with several key markets. Therefore, Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for foreign businesses/investors to set up base in order to carry out their trade operations utilizing the benefits of Sri Lanka’s FTAs and trade concessions.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20180725/Z_1

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