India-Lanka discuss FTAs, investments for enhanced trade
Sai Nikesh | The Dollar Business India and Sri Lanka on Thursday, discussed various economic issues towards addressing trade imbalance and enhancement of economic cooperation between the two countries. In a Commerce Secretary level interaction that was held as a third round of discussion, followed by the one in June 2013 in Colombo and the other in January 2014, both the sides discussed key issues like India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA), non-tariff barriers, upgrading of economic engagement including investments and services, among others related to bilateral trade. Both the sides also agreed upon the expansion of bilateral trade by utilizing the optimal opportunities and resources available with the two economies. The Indian side reiterated its commitment saying the Indian investments would increase the export capacity of Srilanka and also a need for establishment of greater linkages with production and supply chains in the Indian market. While recalling the Sri Lankan government’s earlier offer to attract Indian investments in manufacturing of automobile parts, pharmaceutical, textile and engineering products, in Special Economic Zones (SEZ), the Indian side pitched for the investments in the form of joint ventures, where the Sri Lankan private and state enterprises can work in coordination with the Indian enterprises. On energy cooperation, both sides focused upon the inter-grid connectivity between two countries and it was also pointed out that Sri Lanka has abundant wind energy source which could be harnessed, in order to boost the energy cooperation between the two countries. As a way to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries, the two sides agreed upon early implementation of the ferry service between Talaimannar and Rameshwaram, Colombo and Tuticorin, along with the early rapping up of Revised Air Service Agreement that had been initiated in September 2013. Towards creation of optimal support framework, the two sides noted the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement that came into force from January 2013, MoU on cooperation in the fields of Textiles, Handloom, Powerloom and SMEs that were signed in September 2013 and informed that the Joint Working Group (JWG) under this MoU would meet shortly. As an outcome of the interaction, it was also informed about supposed deal on the ‘Agreement for mutual assistance and cooperation in Customs matters’. The event was co-chaired by Rajeev Kher, Secretary, Government of India and S S Miyanawala, Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Government of Sri Lanka and the Indian delegation also include H E Y K Sinha, High Commissioner of India and Arvind Mehta, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce.
This article was published on March 07, 2015.