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Sept 09, 2007 (LBO) – Trade analysts say that Sri Lanka should make the most of existing trade deals like the Bay of Bengal Initiative before negotiating more bilateral and multilateral agreements. Japan has played a big role in enhancing Sri Lanka™s infrastructure and is a major investment partner in the services sector.

Sri Lanka became a member of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation or BIMSTEC in 1997.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar are also part of BIMSTEC, though trade under the agreement has not really taken off as expected, eclipsed by other trade deals member countries have signed.

The BIMSTEC free trade area has still not come into practical operation although a dialogue is taking place among member countries with regard to tariff preferences, Saman Kelegama, Director of think tank the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) said at a seminar in Colombo.

The start of deep economic corporation has been a bit slow with comparison to other regional groupings.

Sri Lanka is also member of the Bangkok Agreement, the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and also has free trade ag