COLOMBO, Nov 19, 2014 (EconomyNext) – A team of Indian experts are in Sri Lanka to study ways to remove barriers faced by the island’s exporters in making use of the free trade deal between the two neighbours.
India became the biggest product supplier to Sri Lanka in 2013, followed by China, according to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka.
In 2013, total Indo-Lanka trade stood at 3.6 billion US dollars with imports from India amounting to 3.09 billion dollars.
Total trade under the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) stood at 748.2 million US dollars in 2013, up 40 percent from 2012.
A Commerce Ministry statement said 65 percent of Sri Lanka’s total exports to India were exports under the FTA at 354 million dollars.
Under the FTA, more than 4,000 product lines are now open ‘tariff free’ to exporters at both ends.
But the island’s exporters have complained they faced non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
"It is time this NTB issue is taken head-on!" declared Binay Kumar Pattnaik, Director, Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, India, who led the Indian team.
"The findings of the first round of our study will be published in early 2015 after which we will select few focal areas to study in depth in the second round."
He said the study, supported by the Asia Foundation, will identify areas of concern so that "they could be listed, rectified and workable solutions devised."