Sri Lanka Thailand to begin talks on FTA from May

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and Thailand will begin talks on setting broad parameters for a free trade deal from May 2018, officials said.

The scheduled for May 16, the ‘scoping’ meeting set out the agenda and the areas covering the free trade deal, Trade Negotiator and Advisor at Sri Lanka’s Ministry of International Trade, K J Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka has expanded protectionism over the last decade or so, which kept the country’s production and exports below potential while growth was driven by government debt, which are now becoming increasingly difficult to service.

Sri Lanka also has restrictions on investment including the movement of people with new skills and business process which is keeping the country back, unlike East Asian nations.

Sri Lanka recently signed a FTA with Singapore which will allow the firms investing in Sri Lanka to bring a few executives with less difficulty.

Both Singapore and Korea have been top investors in Vietnam driving its exports.

Sri Lanka however is not planning an FTA with Korea at the moment, International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickreme said. (Colombo/May07/2018)

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