US helps shape Sri Lanka labour, IP rules to draw investments

ECONOMYNEXT – The United States is helping Sri Lanka improve its laws relating to trade, investment, intellectual property rights and labor rules in order to encourage foreign direct investment, US Ambassador Atul Keshap said.

The election of the current government in 2015 enabled Sri Lanka to make progress on democratic rights, reconciliation, rule of law and freedom of expression, he told the intersessional meeting on the Trade and Investment Facilitation Agreement (TIFA) between Sri Lanka and the US.

“These changes have created new trade and investment opportunities between Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.”

The talks follow the 12th TIFA Council meeting that the United States Government hosted in Washington, D.C. in April 2016 where the two governments adopted a US-Sri Lanka Joint Action Plan to boost trade and investment.

The TIFA Inter-sessional discussions are a sign “of the rapid progress in expanding the already-rich economic bond between Sri Lanka and the United States,” Keshap said in remarks released by the US embassy.

“Our mutual goal is not just to strengthen the economic relationship between our two countries, but to help improve Sri Lanka’s trade, investment and labor rules in order to encourage foreign direct investment, and provide economic benefits and jobs to Sri Lankan people.”

US officials taking part in the talks included the assistant secretary of commerce Arun Kumar and assistant US trade representative Mike Delaney, who will meet with the government and private sector representatives in Colombo.

Officials from the US Department of Commerce, US Department of State, US Patent and Trademark Office, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and staff from the US Embassy in Colombo are participating in the bilateral discussion.

The United States is Sri Lanka’s single largest export market, and trade between the countries is growing, Keshap said. 

“The garments, information technology services, rubber goods, tea and other products US consumers purchase from Sri Lanka create thousands of jobs here in Sri Lanka,” he said.





Last year, US imports from Sri Lanka were $2.9 billion, up roughly 7 percent from the previous year.  Similarly, in 2010, US exports to Sri Lanka amounted to about $360 million, up about 3 percent from the previous year. 

The United States has a number of ongoing assistance programs to help attract additional investments and further improve Sri Lanka’s business climate, Keshap said. 

The US Department of Commerce trains Sri Lankan officials in the judiciary, energy sector and tourism industry.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides assistance to small and medium enterprises to grow the economy, create durable and sustainable jobs, and help support the development of rural agriculture.
(COLOMBO, September 01, 2016)

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