Sri Lanka, Singapore ink free trade agreement

Sri Lanka, Singapore ink free trade agreement

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Singapore and Sri Lanka have signed a free trade agreement (FTA) aimed at boosting trade and investment between the two countries.

The Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) was signed January 23 by Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran and Sri Lanka’s Minister for Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena witnessed the signing in the Sri Lankan city of Colombo.

“The Free Trade Agreement will boost the trade between the two countries as this would facilitate duty-free access to selected goods and services of each other,” the Sri Lankan President’s Office said in a statement.

Some of the areas set to benefit from the FTA include information and communications technology, real estate, hospitality and tourism, as well as energy and logistics.

The SLSFTA is Sri Lanka’s first modern and comprehensive free trade agreement and will cover wide-ranging areas such as trade in services, e-commerce, telecommunications, investments, intellectual property, and government procurement, said Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a statement.

Under the agreement, “Singapore companies will benefit from tariff-free access for 80% of all tariff lines, enhance access to services sectors and procurement markets and greater protection for their investments,” added MTI.

In 2017, Sri Lanka was Singapore’s 36th largest trading partner and its 27th largest export destination. Top exports to Sri Lanka include petroleum oils and diesel fuel, non-monetary gold, and jewelry. Top imports from Sri Lanka include motor spirit, fuel oils, perfumes, clothing accessories, and wheat flour.

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