Sri Lanka-Japan free trade deal possible: statement

July 30, 2010 (LBO) – Japan is willing to consider a request by Sri Lanka for a free trade deal between the two countries, a foreign affairs ministry statement said. Japan has also been one of Sri Lanka’s biggest donors and lenders, helping to fund infrastructure like ports and highways.

“The government of Japan will be prepared to engage in the necessary consultations with regard to a Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and Japan,” it quoted Masayuki Naoshima, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry as saying in Tokyo.

Naoshima was responding to a request by visiting Sri Lankan external affairs minister Gamini Peiris and Basil Rajapaksa, minister of economic development.

The visiting ministers asked Japan to consider entering into a Free Trade Agreement with Sri Lanka given the “vast opportunities” now available in Sri Lanka for investment and trade, the statement said.

Sri Lanka’s 30-year ethnic war ended in May 2009, resulting in an immediate economic revival with economic growth forecast at seven per cent this year.