Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday said his country’s free trade agreement (FTA) will be broadened further beyond goods to cover services, investments and technology cooperation.
He further said Sri Lanka’s Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India could be signed by the end of this year, as the two neighbours seek to boost their current business engagement.
“The proposed ETCA will be signed by the end of this year… Prime Minister Modi and I have decided that we must conclude it by the end of this year,” Wickremesinghe said here at the India Economic Summit organised by the World Economic Forum and industry body CII.
India already has a decent goods trade surplus with Sri Lanka, thanks to the FTA. The country exported goods worth $5.31 billion in 2015-16 and its imports from Sri Lanka were to the tune of $0.74 billion.
Wickremesinghe said Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Telangana have a population of 250 million and combined GDP of nearly $450 billion and with the addition of Sri Lanka of 22 million people and $80 billion economy, the GDP “in the sub-region will be $500 billion”. Among all Indian states, these five are expected to be benefited the most from India’s deeper economic engagement with Sri Lanka. He added that ETCA has the potential to promote growth of $500 billion sub-regional economy.