Sri Lanka, India to remove trade barriers, promote investment

EconomyNext – India and Sri Lanka have revived talks on upgrading their economic ties and to remove trade barriers with a visiting official saying Indian firms were keen to invest in the island.

During talks by Rajeev Kher, Commerce Secretary of India, in Colombo both sides discussed moving towards investment-based trade.

"Issues discussed included implementation of India-Sri Lankan Free Trade Agreement, trade, investments, economic cooperation and and upgrading the economic engagement to include investment and services," an Indian High Commission statement said.

Issues pertaining to the imbalance in trade, non-tariff barriers were also taken up.

"Both sides also continued dialogue on moving towards investment-based trade," it said.

Kher told Industry & Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen the two delegations discussed ways to better operate the FTA, a ministry statement said.

This included joint consensus on finalising a list of issues which Sri Lanka considers as ‘NTBs’ (non-tariff barriers) and building a facilitating mechanism to remove NTBs.

Kher said the obstacles were caused by different standards and capacities on both sides.

Kher’s visit was in response to the announcement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to India in February 2015 that Commerce Secretaries of both countries would meet soon to review bilateral commercial relations.

The talks between Kher and S.S. Miyanawala, Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka, was the third round of Commerce Secretary level discussions, earlier rounds having taken place in Colombo in June 2013 and in New Delhi in January 2014. 

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The Indian statement said Indian investments would increase Sri Lankan export capacity and noted the need establish greater linkages with production and supply chains in the Indian market. 

The Indian side recalled the earlier Sri Lankan offer of attracting Indian investments in the manufacture of automobile parts, pharmaceuticals, textiles and engineering products in Special Economic Zones. 

"The investments could be in the form of joint venture projects to encourage Sri Lankan private sector and state enterprises to work together with Indian enterprises," the statement said.

The Industry & Commerce Ministry quoted Kher as saying that investments lead to better trading opportunities.

"Our EXIM Bank can support projects here with its funding options,” Kher said on 04 March.

 

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