Daily News - 08 February 2024
Sri Lanka to join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – President
Sri Lanka will soon join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the opening of the fifth session of the Ninth Parliament and presenting his policy statement yesterday.
He said, “this will help Sri Lanka connect with the common system of trade variations in the European Union.”
Signed in November 2020, RCEP is the first free trade agreement among the largest economies in Asia, including China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea.
“Furthermore, efforts are underway to establish a new network of economic relationships that facilitate our products’ entry into foreign markets.”
Subsequent to the recent free trade agreement signed with Thailand, steps are being taken to enhance the trade agreement with India, and the free trade agreement with Singapore is fully operational. There are also plans to pursue a free trade agreement with China, Indonesia and Bangladesh in the future.”
The President said Rapidly increasing export income and foreign investment are crucial components of this transformative journey. “Our on-going economic reforms lay the foundation for creating a competitive, digital and green economy.”
Identifying several growth areas, the President identified tourism as a sector ripe for development.
“We are actively working on enhancing both human and physical resources to attract more tourists, with the goal of reaching 5 million visitors annually.Our country boasts abundant renewable energy sources, presenting a significant opportunity for economic gain.By leveraging state of the art international technology, we are capable of transforming into an energy-exporting nation, particularly in the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia, for which preliminary plans are underway.”
“Climate change is a priority concern, and we are taking initial steps to establish an International Climate Change University in Sri Lanka to spearhead research efforts.To catalyse economic growth, the Port City of Colombo has been identified as a special financial zone, facilitating the enactment of necessary laws and ordinances for conducting international financial transactions in the region,” President Wickremesinghe said.