Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe predicted that the free-trade agreements between Singapore-India (CEPA), India-Lanka (ETCA) and Sri Lanka-Singapore would permit a tripartite arrangement for trade and investments by 2017.
Such an arrangement would be beneficial to all parties involved, he said.
Wickremasinghe was speaking at the Third South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore earlier today.
He said that Sri Lanka, currently negotiating the terms of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore, was already in a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, and that the tripartite agreement between this, the southern sub-region of South Asia had the potential to elevate economic cooperation between the three countries to a new high.
The Prime Minister said the agreement would be favourable to Sri Lanka, which has embarked on a programme to maximise the potential of country’s uniquely positioned geo-strategic advantage – its location at the crossroads of major international shipping routes, as well as expand into foreign markets.
On local politics, the Premier said, the previous regime had lacked the long-term economic and political vision necessary to take the country forward. He said the current consensus between the two main political parties was a turning point for the nation, noting that the people had voted in favour of the national unity government twice.
Development Strategy and Investment Minister Malik Samarawickrema and Ambassador Gopinath Pillai also addressed the gathering at the opening session.
The 3rd South Asian Diaspora Convention brings together 1,000 distinguished guests and more than 50 of the region’s leading policymakers, business leaders, academics and civil society leaders, as speakers discuss and debate critical topics that would affect the region’s future and its role in the global geopolitics of the 21st century.