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News First - 16 September 2022
Sri Lanka – India FTA to be revived; Intl Trade Office in Sri Lanka
By Zulfick Farzan
President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Sri Lanka – India Free Trade Agreement would be revived and upgraded into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership.
The President noted that he would establish an international trade office which will deal with all the international trade negotiations.
He pointed out Sri Lanka and India gradually have to wean themselves out of the barriers to investment and the non-tariff barriers to trade specially in relation to Sri Lanka Indo economic relations.
He made these observations addressing the Sri Lanka India Society (SLIS) get together held at the in Colombo on Thursday (15) evening to mark the 75th anniversary of independence of India.
"We will revive and upgrade the Free Trade Agreement into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership. We started that in 2018 and 2019. Then I found recently that it has been stuck somewhere in the department of Commerce with a large number of committees. I didn’t know why it was necessary. At that time, I asked the then minister, Mr. Malik Samarawickrama to negotiate it, and we didn’t have very many things. So I abolished all the committees and I said, I want to see this done quickly at the highest political level. But I also think if Sri Lanka wants to develop its international trade, we have to think differently," said the President.
"We have a tremendous scope of potential renewable energy, and India has stepped in first. There’ll be others. But what from Puttlam to Mullativu, if we exploit the renewable energy and go in for green hydrogen and also providing power to India, you will see the upliftment of the Northern economy, which had not happened earlier. The big impact on the northern economy and the implementation. Then we come to promoting Indian higher education institutes to come into Sri Lanka, especially Jaffna is one area we have identified, again another development," he further added according to the PMD.