Lanka to expand relations with Korea with high level visits

korea slSri Lanka is to expand relations with Korea with high level visits scheduled to take place in the near future.

In terms of high-level visits, a presidential visit from Sri Lanka to Korea took place in April 2012, while the Prime Minister of Korea visited Sri Lanka in August 2013. These friendly ties are currently poised to be further elevated in the run-up to the two countries celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations in 2017, the Korean Times reported.

The two countries are discussing the possibility of the exchange of high-level visits in 2016 and 2017, beginning at foreign ministerial level. The next round of political consultations between Sri Lanka and Korea are also scheduled to be held in Colombo this year.

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Korea said that Sri Lanka and Korea enjoy longstanding friendly relations and historical bonds based on Buddhist cultural links spanning centuries.

Sri Lanka has identified Korea among a small basket of countries with which to explore the possibility of entering into a bilateral preferential trading arrangement (PTA or FTA) in the future.

In this regard, an initial joint study to examine the potential in trade and investment was launched in 2015 and is in process.

It has been proposed to establish a Joint Working Group between Sri Lanka and Korea to explore new avenues of enhancing bilateral economic cooperation.

Under such a mechanism, some important areas including customs cooperation, technology transfer, addressing market barriers such as regulatory requirement on imports, and steps towards enhancing trade, investment and tourism, could be discussed.

Korea remains as one of the most important sources of foreign direct investment to Sri Lanka. Korean investment in Sri Lanka has over 70 companies based in Sri Lanka and has generated more than 4,000 job opportunities in the country.

The Sri Lankan Government has also proposed to establish 11 business and technology development zones throughout the country, as well as an information and agricultural technology zone in Kandy this year, which will provide added impetus to attract Korean investment. (Colombo Gazette)

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