Senior officials of India and Sri Lanka will meet this month in the island nation to discuss broadening of the existing trade deal by including services and investments, the Press Trust of India reported.
The officials are expected to meet by the middle of this month in Sri Lanka, an official said.
India and Sri Lanka have a free trade agreement (FTA) only in goods. It was implemented in March 2000.
In October, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had said that the FTA will be broadened further beyond goods to cover services, investments and technology cooperation.
India already has a healthy trade surplus in goods with Sri Lanka due to the existing agreement. India exported goods worth USD 5.30 billion in 2015-16 and its imports from that country were worth only USD 0.75 billion.
Sri Lanka is India’s major trading partner in South Asia.
In 2003, both sides set up a joint study group to widen the ambit of the FTA. Based on its recommendations, they started negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in February 2005.
The negotiations however have not progressed much as Sri Lanka’s services sector has voiced apprehensions over the perceived advantages of the pact for India. (Colombo Gazette)