Sri Lanka will be our gateway in Indian Ocean: Singapore’s Foreign Minister

July 19, 2017 (LBO) – The proposed Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement will serve as Sri Lanka’s gateway to Southeast Asia, while Sri Lanka will be Singapore’s gateway in the Indian Ocean, Singapore’s Foreign Minister said in Colombo, Tuesday.

Vivian Balakrishnan said it is incumbent on both governments to create a conducive climate for businesses which look forward to stability, predictability, and reliability.

“One component of this is the conclusion of our negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore,” Balakrishnan said.

“We’re both committed to try to complete this before the end of the year.”

The proposed FTA will be a modern, comprehensive, high quality, ambitious Free Trade Agreement and will demonstrate to the world that both the countries are open for business and encourage all investments, he said.

“Mr Ravi Karunanayake has suggested that Sri Lanka should pursue a bigger concept of ‘hub diplomacy’ open to the rest of the world,” Balakrishnan said.

“We’re wholeheartedly with you, because if you think about it, Sri Lanka is a hub for transhipment and economic ties across the Indian Ocean. Singapore is a hub in Southeast Asia. We are complementary. We are not competitive.”

“This will be an example of a win-win outcome for both sides.”

There are currently more than 350 Singaporean companies in Sri Lanka and they are engaged in activities across a wide range of sectors which include food and beverage, manufacturing, IT, cybersecurity and power.

Related: Singapore Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan to visit Sri Lanka