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Sri Lankan government flags off resurgence in Sri Lanka-India economic ties

Sri Lankan government flags off resurgence in Sri Lanka-India economic ties

Daily FT: In a significant development that marks a milestone in Sri Lanka›s economic and technological journey, the 12th Round of Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) negotiations between Sri Lanka and India took place from 30 October to 1 November in Colombo.
The President’s Media Division (PMD) said Sri Lanka’s vision has always been to integrate with the largest economies in Asia and East Asia, emphasizing export diversification while maintaining and nurturing existing major export markets. The ultimate goal is to connect with key players through the global value chain to boost the country›s economy and improve the living standards of its people.
The discussions during this round of negotiations hold immense promise. The visit of the President of Sri Lanka to New Delhi on 29 July 2023 set the stage for a renewed commitment to the ETCA, which had been on hold since 2018. Both Heads of State, representing Sri Lanka and India, agreed to comprehensively enhance bilateral trade and investments, especially, in new and priority areas.
A delegation of 19 Indian officials, led by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India, Department of Commerce, Chief Negotiator and Joint Secretary, Anant Swarup visited Sri Lanka. They engaged in extensive discussions on this comprehensive Agreement.
Representing Sri Lanka in these crucial negotiations was the National Trade Negotiating Committee (NTNC), headed by the Presidential Secretariat Chief Negotiator K.J. Weerasinghe. The Sri Lankan negotiation team included representatives from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Trade, Commerce and Food Security Ministry, Industries Ministry, the Department of Trade and Investment Policy, Attorney General›s Department, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Board of Investment, among others.
The discussions during the 12th Round covered a wide range of topics, including goods, services, rules of origin, trade remedies, customs procedures and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and legal and institutional affairs. Additionally, a special session was dedicated to addressing implementation-related issues of the existing India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA).
“This resumption of ETCA negotiations represents a significant step towards strengthening the economic partnership between Sri Lanka and India. It underlines the commitment of both nations to foster collaboration in various sectors, ultimately benefiting their economies and the well-being of their citizens,” PMD said. “As the talks progress, it is anticipated that this agreement will open up new avenues for trade and investment, bringing prosperity to both nations in the ever-evolving global landscape,” it added.

OSL take:
Sri Lanka and India enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties that have been further strengthened by an operational free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Sri Lanka and India are now looking at further strengthening investment, business and trade ties through the proposed ETCA framework. Both countries are set to resume negotiations on ETCA from January 2024 and expects to finalize it by the first quarter of 2024. India is already one of Sri Lanka’s key development partners engaged in many development programmers in the country covering key economic sectors. There are also many Indian businesses operating in Sri Lanka and they have shown a steady growth and profits. Other Indian businesses/investors could therefore confidently explore the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka. Given Sri Lanka’s close proximity to India and the country’s strategic placement in the Indian Ocean as well as the strong trade ties enjoyed by Sri Lanka, the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka present lucrative business/investment opportunities to Indian business/investors. On the other hand, other foreign businesses interested in doing business with India, could look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with India and other countries in the region.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20231114/Z_2

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