Sri Lanka explores possibility to join TPP: Foreign Minister


Feb 26, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government is currently exploring the possibility of applying to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership very seriously, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

“A leading government think tank is preparing a feasibility study and we will be continuously evaluating developments on this front,” Samaraweera said.

He was addressing a gathering at the US Institute of Peace in Washington yesterday.

Foreign Minister stated that they are now finalizing the formal application for GSP+ reapplication and hope to regain the facility by the end of this year.

Due to the previous government’s human rights violations Sri Lanka lost GSP+ concessions to the EU.

Samaraweera said they are already in discussions to sign a free trade agreement with China and a concerted effort is also underway to improve the domestic business climate.

“We are reviewing our laws and regulations to create a simple, rule based business environment: including those related to land ownership, as well as tariffs and para-tariffs,” he said.

“We are bringing a number of government agencies together to create a one-stop investment and trade-facilitation shop under the Agency for Development,”

“We have also adopted policies that enable private enterprise to thrive: for example, Sri Lanka has one of the lowest income tax rates in the world – at 15 percent.”