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Upgrading FTA with India, SL President wants to join RCEPSeptember 26, 2023
Colombo, Sep 26 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced on Tuesday that the island nation would join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) while upgrading Free Trade Agreement with India and entering into new agreements with other countries in the region.
“We will be entering a number of free trade agreements. We have got one with Singapore. We are about to finalize one with Thailand. We are discussing with India of upgrading agreement. Talking with Bangladesh,” President Wickremesinghe said while addressing the 2023 Commercial Mediation Symposium in Colombo.
While stressing the significance of international trade agreements, President Wickremesinghe also underscored the need for Sri Lanka to become a centre for alternate dispute resolution.
He emphasized that success in dispute resolution was crucial for Sri Lanka’s aspirations to be an outward-looking economy.
With the aim of resolving dispute and offshore activities efficiently and fast, the Sri Lankan President has planned to convert Chinese built Colombo Port City as the Colombo Financial Zone while change the Board of Investment (BOI)to an Economic Commission.
“Now we want Sri Lanka to be a centre. One is the new legislation which will replace the port city to make it a Colombo financial zone with jurisdiction for offshore activity. The new law has been drafted. And we will see the light of day before the end of the year,” he said.
Wickremesinghe urged legal professionals to look beyond Sri Lanka’s borders and specialize in emerging fields like AI, Blockchain and green energy to secure the nation’s competitive future.
He further emphasized that Sri Lanka must position itself as the central player in the region. “When examining Singapore as a benchmark, Sri Lanka should strive to match or surpass Singapore in various aspects, except for cost, where it should maintain a competitive advantage. This approach is crucial because there exists a noticeable void in this region, which Sri Lanka can effectively fill if it acts swiftly,” he said.