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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.” USIP-Speech-Final-pdf1
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