The government has resumed steps to operationalize the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA), which took effect in May 2018, KJ Weerasinghe, chief negotiator for the Office of the President’s Office for International Trade, told Mirror Business.
SLSFTA is the first comprehensive FTA joined by Sri Lanka covering goods, services, investment, intellectual property, telecommunications, e-commerce, trade facilitation, government procurement, competition, economic and technological cooperation .
FTA activation has been halted over the past three years due to negative political developments.
Late last year, President Ranil Wickremesinghe directed immediate steps to make SLSFTA operational under the newly established International Trade Agency.
A joint committee established pursuant to the SLSFTA, composed of designated officials from both countries, met this month to finalize modalities for operationalization.
Weerasinghe therefore clarified that the operationalization of SLSFTA is currently underway.
Several ministries and agencies, including the Treasury Department and certain state agencies, will soon issue Gazette Notices implementing the FTA’s commitments and provisions.
However, he noted that full activation of the FTA would be a rather lengthy process as it would involve many national agencies to implement the provisions on different timelines.