SL signs FTA with Singapore

Published : 9:10 am  January 24, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (212) reads | 
  • The FTA will provide Singapore and Sri Lankan companies greater access to each others markets
  • The SLSFTA  contains one of the most liberal rules of origin, which will allow more exports either way
  • The key benefits of the SLSFTA are the elimination of 80% tariffs by SL for 15 years for Singapore’s exports 

 

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By Sandun A Jayasekera

Sri Lanka and Singapore signed a Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) yesterday after bilateral talks between visiting Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, presidential media division said. 

 

Mr. Loong arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday for a three-day official visit on an invitation extended by President Sirisena.   


Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama and Singapore Trade and Industry Minister S. Iswaran signed the FTA on behalf of the respective governments in the presence of the President, Prime Minister Loong and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.   


The FTA will provide Singapore and Sri Lankan companies greater access to each others markets across many sectors.   


The key benefits of the SLSFTA are the elimination of 80% tariffs by Sri Lanka for 15 years for Singapore’s exports to Sri Lanka, a potential tariff savings of about S$10 million each year by Singapore.   
The SLSFTA also contains one of the most liberal rules of origin, which will allow more exports either way from Singapore to Sri Lanka and from Sri Lanka to Singapore under lower tariffs as negotiated.   
It includes Sri Lanka’s first treaty commitment on government procurement. This will allow Singapore companies to bid for projects by several of Sri Lanka’s large central entities and state-owned enterprises.   


Singapore and Sri Lanka are also committed to granting better access to each other’s service markets. The agreement includes sectors of interest to Singapore companies in the professional and trade-related services as well as environment, construction and tourism.   


The SLSFTA also covers cross-border transfers of information by electronic means and data flows which will benefit Singapore and Sri Lanka companies, given the increase in demand for e-commerce and digital services.   


There are also safeguards against discriminatory treatment based on nationality and protection against expropriation.   


Under the agreement, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre is listed as an institution where Investor-State disputes can be heard.