India, Sri Lanka to hold talks on expanding scope of FTA, conclude negotiations on ETCA by December

India and Sri Lanka plan to hold 10th round of talks to expand the scope of the existing free trade agreement on goods and aim to conclude negotiations on the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) by December.

The talks are proceeding and both countries aim to conclude them in December for the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement, Press Trust of India news agency reported.

“The talks are going at a healthy pace and both the countries are targeting to conclude the talks by December for the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA),” an official said.

The pact aims to further boost the economic ties between the two countries by liberalizing trade norms.

“Both the countries already have a free trade agreement (FTAs) in goods, but now the talks are on to widen the scope of this pact by including services and investments to make it comprehensive,” according to the official.

India and Sri Lanka have a free trade agreement in goods implemented in March 2000.

India has a healthy trade surplus in goods with Sri Lanka. India exported goods worth $4.5 billion in 2017-18 and its imports from that country were only $773 million.

Sri Lanka is India’s major trading partner in South Asia.

In 2003, both sides set up a joint study group to widen the ambit of the FTA. Based on its recommendations, they started negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement in February 2005.

Courtesy: Colombo Page