Cutting Ties

The Sri Lankan government is taking another look at what countries it wants to target for preferential trade agreements. The Sri Lankan government is taking another look at what countries it wants to target for preferential trade agreements.

Under the previous UNF regime, Sri Lanka initiated talks with 28 countries, including those already in regional trade agreements with Sri Lanka, for bilateral agreements.

The strategy was to increase market access for key exports like tea and rubber.

Now the list of potential trade partners is under review, an official from the Commerce Department said, with only five selected to continue with trade talks.

Negotiations will continue with the much narrower list of countries, which includes India, Pakistan, Egypt, Singapore and the United States.

Only an FTA with Egypt however, is likely to be finalised this year, with a ministerial delegation from Egypt due here shortly to sign the agreement.

While no dates are decided for the signing, the Commerce Department says “about 80 percent of the work is already done and the FTA with Egypt is most likely to be finali