Sri Lanka seeks tripartite arrangement with Singapore

Sri Lanka is keen to establish a tripartite arrangement for trade and investment with India and Singapore, its Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Harsha de Silva has said.

Sri Lanka aims to conclude Economic Technology Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) with India for services this year, and is negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore, Silva said, according to the Press Trust of India.

“The ETCA will enhance the scope of our existing India-Sri Lanka FTA to extend freer movement of goods and services with the added emphasis on cooperation in the development of technology and in investments,” he said at The Indian Ocean forum organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies.

The three trade pacts, including India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, will enable South Asia and Singapore to establish a tripartite arrangement for trade and investments, he said.

He went on to highlight Sri Lankas goal to boost exports to USD 20 billion by 2020.
The geo-political realities require that Sri Lanka builds strong bilateral relations with Bay of Bengal members of ASEAN, in addition to its fellow South Asian members, he said.

“In addition, we cannot be content with our traditional markets, and we must look beyond for new opportunities,” said de Silva.

Sri Lanka is supporting Chinaa One Belt – One Road economic initiative, in line with the major historical role it played in the Maritime Silk Route.

“This will consolidate our position to become the hub of the Indian Ocean while further integrating us with the Asian markets,” said de Silva. (Colombo Gazette)