Officials from Sri Lanka and India held talks here on trade, investment and economic cooperation aimed at doubling the bilateral trade volume.

“Recognising that India is Sri Lanka’s leading trade partner and that bilateral trade between the two countries has now reached $5 billion, it was agreed that the potential which remains to expand bilateral trade further to the tune of $10 billion would be exploited in the next 3 years,” said a statement issued by the Sri Lankan Government today.

During the talks held on June 24-25, it was agreed that there was considerable potential to expand the bilateral trade in a balanced manner through optimal utilisation of the opportunities available between the two neighbours.

Sri Lanka’s Secretary to the Treasury P.B. Jayasundera said the talks covered entire gamut of economic, trade and development related issues between the two countries.

“Review of several elements in the current bilateral trade in relation to the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement will be undertaken over the coming months,” he said.

The Free Trade Agreement between India and Sri Lanka was the first ever bilateral trade agreement for both countries, signed in 1998 and enforced since 2000.

India has emerged as Sri Lanka’s foremost development partner in public investment strategy through the provision of assistance and credit totalling $1.75 billion, Sri Lankan Treasury stated.

Indian projects include construction of 50,000 houses in the former conflict-stricken areas in the north and east and also in the central hill plantation areas. India has also undertaken to assist public transport network infrastructure rebuilding.

(This article was published on June 29, 2013)
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