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Sri Lanka to sign Strategic Economic Partnership with Thailand in August

June 09, 2017 (LBO) - Sri Lanka and Thailand has come to a consensus on a trade in goods Free Trade Agreement before it signs a Strategic Econ Partnership in August when Thai Deputy Prime Minister visits the island. Issuing a statement the island's trade and commerce Ministry said that Sri Lanka is aiming at a three-fold trade surge to US 1.5 billion dollars with Thailand. "While exchanging views on trade and economic situations the two nations expressed their interest to further enhance their trade and increase total trade to US 1.5 billion dollars by 2020," it said. To achieve this objective, it was agreed to explore the possibilities of establishment of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and developing the Strategic Economic Partnership (SEP) between Thailand and Sri Lanka in identified sectors of mutual interests. Under the proposed FTA, it was considered to explore the possibility of the establishing an FTA on Trade in Goods as the first step towards a comprehensive FTA with the offer lists under the BIMSTEC to be considered as the basis for the FTA negotiation on the goods under the Enabling Clause of the WTO. The Thai side submitted a draft MOU on Economic Strategic Partnership to Sri Lanka for consideration for which both sides exchanged views, and Sri Lankan side suggested some additions and an action plan. The MOU is expected to be concluded with an action plan in order to be signed during Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak’s visit to Sri Lanka in August 2017. Current annual trade levels between Thailand and Sri Lanka is in the range of US 550 million dollars. Both sides also discussed areas such as basic infrastructure in Sri Lanka, food preservation and food processing industry, Gems and Jewelry industry, Tourism / Hospitality Industry, Export credit line, Small and medium enterprises, Agricultural products: Floriculture and Tea, Automobile component manufactures, Electronics & electrical sector, Trade fair participation, Capacity Building, Quarantine clearance to export of fresh strawberries to Thailand, and long processing time in the issuance of business visa to Sri Lankan exporters. The Sri Lankan side tabled investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and invited investments and technical cooperation in those areas. The Thai side pledged to look into these matters upon receipt of the proposals from the Sri Lankan side.
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