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Sri Lanka, Bangladesh plan Free Trade Agreement

Xinhua | 23 Sep 2014

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh plan Free Trade Agreement

COLOMBO, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have begun exploring the possibility of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, the Industries and Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

It would be the first ever FTA for Bangladesh while for Sri Lanka, it would be a single entry-point for a huge regional economic corridor.

Trade between the two countries have increased by 67 percent according to the ministry. Sri Lanka was the first countries to sign an FTA with India more than a decade ago and also has a FTA with Pakistan.

Since signing the FTA trade with India has more than doubled with the subcontinent becoming Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner with 5 billion U.S. dollars in volume.

A five member delegation is currently in Sri Lanka for trade talks that include discussing the possibility of a FTA between the two countries.

"There are so many sectors where both countries have their own comparative advantages. I hope that this Free Trade Agreement, will bring the two countries closer," Bangladesh Commerce Ministry Additional Secretary Kumar Roy told the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Trade.

In recent years Sri Lanka has pushed forward trade relations with new trade partners and an FTA with China is expected to be signed before the end of this year.

 source: Xinhua