Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussain Bhaila who led the Sri Lanka delegation to the conference called for a Preferential Trade Arrangement in the IOR-ARC.
This could be an instrument to foster and enhance the promotion of trade flows in the region by removing impediments, he said.
However, he cautioned that "mutually beneficial trade" must be promoted, taking into account "the economic asymmetries among member states".He also welcomed the initiatives taken by IOR-ARC to promote investment, including the work done towards the implementation of an agreement to promote and protect investment in the region.
He said efforts to reach harmonisation of standards customs regulations and quarantine requirements were "welcome first steps in intra-regional trade facilitation".
IOR-ARC is a grouping of Indian Ocean Rim countries launched in 1997 to promote economic cooperation.
It has a membership of 18 countries including Sri Lanka.