Sri Lanka seeks wider access to China under trade deal

Sept 28, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters will get better access to the Chinese market in a new round of talks under a regional trade deal scheduled for completion in October, officials said. Sri Lanka will ask for more products to be covered in the fourth round of talks under the preferential trading arrangement, Asia-Pacific Trade Arrangement (APTA), previously called the Bangkok agreement.

Bandula Somasiri, deputy director of the Commerce Department, said Sri Lanka has got received expanded market access to China through concessionary import duties for 1,700 export products under APTA with the margin of preferential duty now 27 percent.

“In the fourth round of talks we’ve asked for more products. This is expected to rise to 2,000 product lines,” he told a Sri Lanka-China business forum.

Saman Kelegama, executive director, Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank, said the fourth round of talks is scheduled for completion in October.

“The fourth round of negotiations aims to widen the coverage of preferences to at least 50 percent of the number of tariff lines and provide a tariff concession of at least 50 percent.”

The fourth of talks will also extend to areas bey