Lanka seeks tripartite trade arrangement with India and Singapore: Harsha


Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, January 10: 

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 in Singapore.

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, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Silva as saying.

"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 on Monday.

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 Lanka’s goal to boost exports to US$ 20 billion by 2020.

The geo-political realities require that Sri Lanka builds strong bilateral relations with Bay of Bengal (BIMSTEC) members of ASEAN, in addition to its fellow South Asian members in SAARC, 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 China’a 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.

While ASEAN members Thailand and Myanmar are in the seven-nation BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), the eight-nation SAARC comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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