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‘Nepal keen on entering into FTA with Sri Lanka’

Daily News, Colombo

‘Nepal keen on entering into FTA with Sri Lanka’

By Anjana Samarasinghe

29 March 2007

FTA: Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L. Pieris delivering the keynote address on “Exports and Future Government Plans” at the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka said Nepal is keen on entering into an FTA with Sri Lanka.

Nepal is a potential export market for local goods such as Micro cars and other industrial goods. Through a FTA with Nepal, Sri Lanka could easily export locally made cars and other industrial goods to Nepal, he said.

FTAs that currently Sri Lanka has need to be constantly reviewed. Government needs to emphasise changes to facilitate local exports according to circumstances, he said.

Speaking on government policies on exports, Minister said that the sole objective of Government policies is not only to increase foreign exchange to the country through exports. Government also focuses on social equity through their policies on exports. The value addition in exports will be a most important element in government policies.

The Government also believes that economic development and resolving the ethnic issue need to be handled simultaneously, he said.

The country needs to focus on markets such as Azerbaijan and Ukraine which have economies with high purchasing power. Showcasing local products at selected international trade centers will also facilitate local exports. At present Sri Lanka has a trade centre in Chennai, he said.

Sri Lanka needs to focus more on the exclusive benefits that have been granted through FTAs before these benefits are made available to other countries through other agreements.

Most of the exporters are not aware about the concessions that Sri Lanka has. For example, most exporters think GSP concessions are only for the apparel industry. But the GSP concessions are available for products such as footwear, gems and jewellery, he said.

The Ministry is also working closely with the advisory committees which are appointed for different sectors and try to implement practical solutions for problems faced by the industrialists in different sectors.