In a bid to strengthen economic ties with both established and emerging economies, particularly focusing on ASEAN nations, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s vision has taken shape as the fifth round of negotiations on the proposed Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) commenced in Colombo on Monday, as confirmed by the President’s Media Division (PMD).
Building upon the significant progress made thus far, the upcoming round of negotiations is slated to be held in Thailand from August 21 to 23. With the aim of swiftly reaching a comprehensive agreement, three additional rounds of discussions are scheduled to conclude the negotiations by February 2024, with the official signing anticipated to take place in March of the same year, as stated by the PMD.
Highlighting the commitment and dedication to enhancing trade relationships, it is noteworthy that the fourth round of negotiations already took place earlier this year in March, underscoring the earnest efforts of both Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Sri Lanka holds a pivotal position as Thailand’s fourth-largest trading partner in South Asia. Among the key exports from Sri Lanka to Thailand are gems, jewelry, tea, spices, fiber, and metal products. Remarkably, in 2021 alone, Sri Lanka imported goods from Thailand valued at 355 million U.S. dollars, while its exports to Thailand reached an impressive 59 million dollars, according to the PMD.
The ongoing negotiations on the proposed Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement signify a significant milestone in strengthening the trade ties between the two nations. This agreement holds the potential to open new avenues for economic growth and prosperity for both Sri Lanka and Thailand.
As discussions progress, it will be crucial to closely monitor the developments of this substantial trade agreement, which could have far-reaching implications for the economies of both countries.