Sri Lanka aims to establish free trade agreements with most Southeast Asian countries
Daily FT: Significant strides in establishing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Bangladesh and the Maldives, together with existing FTAs will pave the way to initiate FTAs with most Southeast Asian countries by next year, enhancing Sri Lanka’s position as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment, State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya stated recently.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI), aimed at promoting bilateral trade between the two countries, Balasuriya expressed the desire for greater collaboration between the two countries, highlighting Sri Lanka’s burgeoning ICT industry as likely to be of particular interest to Ukraine, which is renowned for its ‘ICT capabilities and for having the best coders in the world’. Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Vish Govindasamy cited many opportunities to invest in Sri Lanka, including immediate opportunities for the manufacturing sector to invest in the dedicated Pharmaceutical and Textile Zones, the power and energy sector and hospitality and tourism projects at the Port City Colombo.
UCCI President Gennadiy Chyzhykov said that while certain Sri Lankan exports, such as Sri Lankan tea which holds 33% of the tea market in Ukraine, are dynamic, there is potential to further develop trade and collaboration, especially between the two Chambers in order to accelerate opportunities for cooperation.
Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine – Trade Representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka echoed these sentiments, welcoming greater collaboration in order to enhance economic relations between the two countries.
The webinar was followed by interactive sessions for participants, dedicated to exploring trade and investment opportunities in the agriculture, industry and tourism sectors of both countries.
Also in attendance at the webinar were Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Turkey Rizvi Hassen and Minister Counsellor Commercial of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Turkey Yoshitha Jayasuriya who collaborated to organise the event.
Sri Lanka enjoys strong bilateral and trade ties with many foreign countries. The government is also in the process of reviewing existing trade agreements while also looking at reaching new trade agreements with several emerging economies. The many trade agreements as well as concessions enjoyed by the country have helped boost Sri Lanka’s economic growth, especially in the export sector. All this has placed Sri Lanka as an attractive destination for trade. Foreign businesses/investors could look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with foreign markets using Sri Lanka’s trade agreements. Also, foreign businesses/investors could explore the possibility of forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses to expand to other countries in the region using the priority status enjoyed by Sri Lanka in some foreign markets.
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