Ranil directs to implement suspended Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA

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President Wickremesinghe made the instructions during a discussion with officials related to foreign policy, trade, legal and other areas…writes Susitha Fernando

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday directed to implement the suspended Singapore-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) immediately.

President Wickremesinghe made the instructions during a discussion with officials related to foreign policy, trade, legal and other areas.

“The existing problems in this regard were discussed at length and the President highlighted the need to provide quick solutions to all the existing problems,” President’s Media Division said in a statement.

In September, Wickremesinghe who met Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Tokyo on the side-lines of a state funeral for the slain PM Shinzo Abe had assured that 2018 pact signed when he was the Prime Minister would be revived.

Penned in January 2018, the free-trade pact between the two island nation was suspended due to severe objections from Sri Lanka’s opposition parties, trade unions and other professional bodies.

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In May 2021, Sri Lanka tried to revive it with a number of amendments but it was not successful.

Signed on January 23 after 18 months of negotiations between the two countries, Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SL-SFTA) was considered a ‘giant leap’ in terms of implementation and laying down of a marker that Sri Lanka was moving into a new era of international trade.

The pact was to cover areas such as Goods, Services, Investments, Rules of Origin, Intellectual Property rights, Customs Procedure and Trade Facilitation, Government Procurement, Trade Remedies, Economic and Technical Cooperation, Dispute Settlement, Telecommunications and E-commerce.

Meanwhile the Non-Resident High Commissioner of Singapore, Chandra Das is to meet President Ranil Wickremesinghe during his visit to Sri Lanka from November 13-18.

Accompanied by a business delegation from Singapore, the High Commissioner met Foreign Minister Ali Sabry on Tuesday and he is to meet a number business and trade related officials.

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