Live Mint - 01 November 2023
India, Sri Lanka resume talks on economic, technology cooperation
By Shashank Mattoo
After a five-year hiatus, India and Sri Lanka have re-launched talks on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement. The two sides held the 12th round of negotiations on the agreement in Colombo.
Talks between New Delhi and Colombo paused after 11 rounds of negotiations held between 2016 and 2018.
“During this round, both the sides took stock of the progress made till the 11th round and engaged in discussions on various chapters including trade in goods, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, custom procedure & trade facilitation, rules of origin, trade remedies, economic & technology cooperation and dispute settlement. Both sides identified the areas of convergence and areas where they need to find creative solutions," according to an official release.
“During this round, both sides reviewed the progress on implementation and decided to drop nine issues as being resolved. Issues such as the quota on apparel and pepper and the procurement of pharmaceuticals were also discussed and both sides decided to continue the discussion and explore new options for resolution of the matter," it said.
The ECTA was discussed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ranil Wickremesinghe during the latter’s visit to India in July.
“On the proposed ETCA, both sides agreed on the need to build on progress made in past, while revisiting their positions wherever possible to reflect new developments. The conclusion of the negotiations is expected to open new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation for both countries. The India-Sri Lanka ETCA will be a pivotal move to further enhance bilateral trade between the two countries. Both sides acknowledged the huge potential in India and Sri Lanka trade partnership and the possibilities for enhanced economic relations in areas of mutual interest," as per the release.