The Sunday Leader

Sri Lanka upbeat over proposed free trade deal with China

Sri Lanka is upbeat over the proposed free trade deal with China which is expected to provide Sri Lanka with a level playing field among competitors in the ASEAN region.

The Central Bank, in the first copy of the Annual Report for 2017 which was released on Thursday, notes that following the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between China and Sri Lanka in September 2014, the two countries have conducted six rounds of negotiations on the proposed China – Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA).

The CSFTA is expected to provide Sri Lanka with a level playing field among competitors in the ASEAN region, who are enjoying preferential access to the Chinese market.

In addition to trade in goods, the CSFTA also covers trade in services, investment, and economic and technical cooperation, the Centra lBank report said.

The ongoing negotiations of the CSFTA are expected to be finalised and signed this year.

Meanwhile, continuous evaluations of new preferential agreements were collaboratively carried out by the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade (MODSIT) and the Department of Commerce (DOC).

Several review meetings were conducted to address issues arising from preferential agreements, while Joint Commissions were also conducted with countries, such as Russia and Qatar, to improve bilateral trade relations.

Additionally, Sri Lanka is also considering the possibility of signing FTAs with Bangladesh, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy handed over the first copy of Annual Report – 2017 of the CBSL to Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera on Thursday at the treasury.

Secretary to the Treasury Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga and Senior Deputy Governor Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe were present at the occasion.

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