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Sri Lanka and Thailand to Sign Free Trade Agreement in February 2024

The 8th round of negotiations for the Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (SLTFTA) concluded successfully on November 29th, paving the way for a historic deal to be signed in February 2024.

The negotiations, co-chaired by the Chief Negotiators of both countries, Auramon Supthaweethum (Thailand) and K. J. Weerasinghe (Sri Lanka), saw both sides agree to conclude the agreement by December 2023. This will enable the signing ceremony to coincide with Sri Lanka's Independence Day celebrations in February 2024.

The SLTFTA is expected to significantly boost trade and investment between the two nations. Deputy Minister of Commerce of Thailand, Napintorn Srisunpang, highlighted the strategic location of Sri Lanka on key shipping routes and its abundant resources. He emphasized the agreement's potential to expand Thailand's access to South Asian markets and raw materials.

Ambassador of Sri Lanka, C. A. Chaminda I. Colonne, acknowledged the historical ties between the two countries, yet pointed out the relatively low trade volume (USD 352 million in 2022). She expressed Sri Lanka's vision to integrate into the global economy and expand regional trade, including joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

With the negotiations concluded, both countries will proceed with internal ratification processes to finalize the agreement.

The signing ceremony in February 2024 will mark a significant milestone in strengthening economic relations between Thailand and Sri Lanka.

This agreement is expected to bring numerous benefits, including reduced tariffs on goods and services, increased market access for businesses, enhanced investment opportunities, creation of jobs, and improved economic growth and prosperity.

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