Sri Lanka to improve bilateral relations and finalize Free Trade Agreement with Bangladesh this year
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Riaz Hamidullah has reportedly said that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was likely to be finalized within the year.
The High Commissioner has said the FTA is aimed at improving bilateral relations between the two nations.
“The Bangladeshi Ministry is now in discussion with the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade. We are now engaged in a joint study to determine the scope, modalities and sectors of the agreement,” Hamidullah has said.
“Once this is done we will develop joint recommendations for the formulation of the agreement,” the High Commissioner has said.
The High Commissioner has expressed these views at a discussion organised by the Sri Lanka Bangladesh Business Co-operation Council at the National Chamber of Commerce.
According to reports, the proposed FTA is more focused on the service sector instead of goods and aims at plugging into the global supply chain.
“This should go beyond bilateral trade between the two countries,” the High Commissioner has reportedly said.
Calling for strategic partnerships between business entities in the two countries to focus on a larger market, taking aim at the regional and global supply chain, Hamidullah has said the FTA would complement such alliances.
“The time has come for the two countries to form joint ventures in sectors such as apparel, IT and construction. The strategic partnership in the apparel industry will enable business entities to plug into global supply chains and this is the same in sectors such as IT as well,” the High Commissioner has added.
Sri Lanka already has FTAs with several key Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Singapore and is in the process of finalizing an agreement with China. Once the FTA is finalized with Bangladesh focusing more on the service sector, foreign investors entering Sri Lanka would also have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of country’s FTA with Bangladesh.
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