Sri Lanka begins the process of ratifying SAFTA

Jan. 13 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s cabinet agrees to ratify South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), paving the way for its implementation later this year, Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said Thursday. Jan. 13 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s cabinet agrees to ratify South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), paving the way for its implementation later this year, Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said Thursday. Out of the seven SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Co-operation) countries, only Sri Lanka and Pakistan had not ratified the agreement by end 2005, for it to become operational by January 1, 2006.

Once cabinet agrees, the proposal needs parliamentary approval and necessary supportive legislative enactments, before SAFTA becomes effective.

Given the delays, officials from Sri Lanka’s Commerce Department say they are working towards implementing the regional trade pact by July 1.

“The implementation of the SAFTA will come into effect from July 1 this year,” said an official from the Commerce Department.

“The issuing of certificates of origin, for exporters to use the SAFTA, will be handled by the Commerce Department. We will start awareness programmes for businesses in Februa