Sri Lanka’s trade agreements with foreign countries are to be handled by the ministry international trade with immediate effect.
This decision was taken at a high level discussion chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickresmasinghe in Colombo recently.
The Commerce Department will carry out negotiations of trade agreements on the directions of Minister Malik Samarawickrema who is the sole authority in handling these international trade agreements.
Details of all such agreements will be handled by the Ministry of intentional trade and officials for trade agreement negotiations should carry out the directives of Minister Samarawickrema.
This decision has been taken to avoid duplication of efforts of the Ministry of Commerce and International Trade.
Sri Lanka is stepping up negotiations on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with three of its foremost trading partners - India, China and Singapore.
The government hopes to finalize discussions and reach comprehensive trade deals with India and Singapore and Chinaas soon as possible.
Sri Lanka's recent interest in FTAs with major trading partners, touted in the media as “FTA Mania”, is totally justified.
Deeper trade integration and investment cooperation, access to markets and economical inputs and improved competitiveness are among some of the potential benefits that FTAs offer partner countries.
However, when tariffs are brought down through FTA negotiations, non-tariff measures (NTMs) can defeat the very purpose of FTAs if they are not effectively handled.
NTMs should be identified at the beginning in the trade negotiations and addressed along with tariff reductions and eliminations for FTAs to deliver the desired benefits.(LI NEWS)