Sri Lanka to provide adjustment package for FTA trade disruption

Oct 13, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will introduce a trade adjustment package for local industrialists in order to face possible trade disruptions that may occur during the initial stages of upcoming free trade agreements, a senior minister said.

International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama said they are negotiating new FTAs with an open mind but also with an intention of getting the best possible deal for the country.

“We are aware that there will be some trade disruptions during this process,” Samarawickrama said.

“Our government will come up with a trade adjustment package for local industrialists to upgrade machinery to be more competitive and giving the opportunity to export to the local markets.”

Samarawickrama was speaking at the inauguration of the World Export Development Forum 2016 in Colombo, Wednesday.

He highlighted that, during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to India, the Indian Premier had pledged to look at trade barriers.

“The recent visit of Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Sri Lanka and meeting of our Prime Minister with Indian Prime Minister Modi helped us to overcome most of the barriers,” he said.

“They promised to look at these trade barriers and eliminate them favorably.”

Sri Lanka currently lags South Asian Neighbors in having preferential access even to regional markets apart from limited access to Pakistan and Indian markets.

Minister Malik further stated that the government is expected to complete the ongoing negotiations on FTA with China by March next year.

Sri Lanka expects to sign the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) with India by the end of this year, PM Wickremesinghe earlier said.