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Singapore mulls FTA with Lanka

Daily News, Colombo

17 March 2006

Singapore mulls FTA with Lanka

Anjana Samarasinghe

FTA: Singapore is keen on entering into an FTA with Sri Lanka, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Rohitha Bogollagama said at the inaugural ceremony of IMEXPRO 2006 at the BMICH on Wednesday. He said that they have specially emphasised on the FTA with Singapore.

’We need to submit a Cabinet paper for the FTA and the Ministry of Trade and Commerce should take the initiative for the implementation of the FTA’, the Minister said.

’Sri Lanka has FTAs with strong economies such as India and Pakistan. We need to create a broad based and comprehensive economic environment.

’The Government is confident on bringing back peace to the country and investors should look at Sri Lanka in a potential prospect’, Bogollagama said.

Sri Lanka is confident of exceeding the USD 7 billion through exports this year. Last year it was nearly USD 6.3 billion and it was a 12% growth compared to previous year.

So far, no company has withdrawn their investments from the 300-factory programme and 50% of the investments are foreign investments. We are focusing on Europe in investment promotion, specially countries like Germany and France, he said.

Chairman of IMEXPRO 2006, Tilak de Zoysa said the event will create ideal opportunity to showcase confidence of local entrepreneurs even after the tsunami. This also will be a platform for foreign investors to explore investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.

There were a significant number of tsunami hit entrepreneurs who showcased their products at the fair. Entrepreneurs from North-East areas too participated at the event.

Most of them said that they are recovering after the tsunami slowly due to the high cost of raw materials such as handloom fabrics and coir.

There are nearly 165 stalls and 10 countries showcasing their products. The event will conclude March 18.

 source: Daily News