SL likely to sign FTA with US: PM

Published : 8:50 am  January 6, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (577) reads | 


BY YOHAN PERERA Sri Lanka hopes to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the US in the future, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

He said this after launching the “Pakistan Single Country Trade Exhibition together with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Temple Trees. Mr. Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka could be a gateway to countries such as Pakistan in its endeavour to enter the US market using this FTA. “Sri Lanka hopes to sign Free Trade Agreements with Singapore, China and also enter into a trade agreement with the US which would either be in the form of a FTA or a Comprehensive Preferential Trade Agreement (CPTA) so that Sri Lanka could enter the markets around the Bay of Bengal,” he said. Mr. Wickremesinghe said trade with Pakistan would help Sri Lanka step into Central Asia and set up extended trade ties with the countries in the Middle East and the Gulf. “Remember that if you enter the Pakistan market you will be able to make your way towards Central Asia and extend your presence towards the Middle East and the Gulf,” he told the local members of the corporate sector who were present. “The private sector should take the initiative and invest by taking risks. You cannot engage in trade without taking risks,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said and added that Pakistan and Sri Lanka had agreed to appoint working committees comprising ministers to develop the existing FTAs. Prime Minister Sharif in his address stressed the need for developing and strengthening the FTA between the two countries. He invited the Export Development Board (EDB) to organize a Sri Lankan trade fair in Karachi. Mr. Sharif invited the Sri Lankan corporate sector to invest in Pakistan stating that his country would turn the tide this year. “Pakistan will turn the tide towards peace and economic development this year and is keen to develop trade with Sri Lanka,” he said