By Akshobh Giridharadas, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE: A possible Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) is being studied, with both countries keen on pursuing the deal, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Wednesday (Jun 1).
The FTA is expected to comprise of commitments in trade in goods, services, investment and government procurement.
Trade and Industry (Industry) Minister S Iswaran who is in Colombo for a three-day working trip, said a decision whether to proceed could be taken soon. Together with his counterpart, Malik Samarawickrama, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Development Strategies and International Trade, Mr Iswaran said officials are working to finalise their studies.
Said Mr Iswaran: “The potential for a good quality bilateral free trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore is there. Our officials have done the studies and they feel both sides stand to benefit significantly. And it will smoothen the way for our business communities to work together.
“The SLSFTA will enhance economic flows by lowering barriers to entry and providing greater market access for both Singapore and Sri Lanka companies,” he added.
Mr Samarawickrama also agreed there would be mutual benefits for both countries, MTI said.
Bilateral trade between the two countries was S$2.05 billion in 2015, according to MTI, while foreign direct investment from Singapore to Sri Lanka stood at S$656 million as of 2014.
Mr Iswaran attended the Sri Lanka-Singapore Business Forum on Wednesday. He said the forum served as a platform for businesses present to foster greater cooperation among themselves and as an opportunity to network with a view to forming long-lasting partnerships.