Sri Lanka to restart trade deal talks with India, China and Thailand | Daily News

Sri Lanka to restart trade deal talks with India, China and Thailand

Sri Lanka will restart negotiations on trade pacts with India, China and Thailand after a four-year hiatus, an official said on Thursday, as the crisis-hit country races to seal deals to help it rebuild its economy.

The island of 22 million is in the midst of its worst financial crisis in over seven decades,  triggered by a severe shortage of foreign exchange that has left the country struggling to pay for fuel, food and medicine.

Officials from Thailand are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on Monday to start the third round of talks after negotiations were suspended in 2018, said K.J. Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Chief Negotiator of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Negotiations with India and China, Sri Lanka’s biggest trading partners accounting for about $5 billion each in bilateral trade in 2021, are expected to begin in February and March. The focus is on improving economic cooperation and attracting investment, which is crucial for Sri Lanka to emerge for this economic crisis,” Weerasinghe told Reuters.

“My main goal is to have all these deals completed by the end of 2023 or early 2024.”

Auramon Supthaweethum, Director General of Thailand’s Department of Trade Negotiations,said talks had been delayed because of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. - (Foreign Media)




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