July 05, New Delhi: Sri Lanka and India have agreed to start negotiations on an expedited track for an early conclusion of the proposed Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA).
Sri Lanka's Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama during his two day visit to India on 4-5 July 2016, met with India's Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for bilateral discussions on Monday in New Delhi.
During the meeting, both the leaders emphasized upon the excellent and warm relations between India and Sri Lanka and expressed satisfaction on the level of engagement between the two countries, encompassing the spheres of trade and investment.
The leaders noted that India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, made operational in March 2000, has been beneficial to both countries. Both leaders discussed several issues related to bilateral trade and investment.
The two ministers reviewed the progress of the proposed Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka and agreed to start negotiations soon to finalize the agreement before the end of the year.
An Indian delegation will be visiting Sri Lanka shortly in this regard, the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry said.
The ministers agreed that early harvest measures may be negotiated but these would come into effect on the date the Agreement comes into force.
Minister Samarawickrama appreciated the workshop organized by India in Colombo on 4th March 2016 to increase awareness about Indian Standards and Regulations and resolve the perception about application of Non-Tariff Measures by India against Sri Lankan exports.
Both leaders also agreed to hold a meeting of the reconstituted India-Sri Lanka CEO's Forum at an early date.
Despite the opposition from political parties and trade unions Sri Lankan government has decided to fast track ETCA in order to mitigate the effect of UK's move to leave the European Union, as UK's exit from the EU will impact Sri Lanka's exports to the 28-nation bloc.