Sri Lanka works to rebuild its financial system, restart trade talks with India, China and Thailand

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Sri Lanka works to rebuild its economy, restart trade talks with India, China and Thailand

A labourer carries packing containers of dried fish on the primary market in Colombo on November 15, 2022. AFP file picture

Colombo: A cash-stripped Sri Lanka is all set to restart trade negotiations with India, China and Thailand because the nation paces to rebuild its financial system.

As the island nation strives to come out of one in every of its worst financial disaster, Sri Lanka hopes to signal a string of offers with its neighbours.

KJ Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Chief Negotiator of Free Trade (FTAs), stated that officers from Thailand are scheduled to arrive within the nation on 9 January (Monday) to start the third spherical of talks after negotiations have been suspended in 2018.

Sri Lanka is anticipated to maintain talks with India and China– its greatest enterprise companions and accounted for $5 billion in trade in 2021 — in February and March.

Weerasinghe instructed Reuters, “The focus is on improving economic cooperation and attracting investment, which is crucial for Sri Lanka to emerge for this economic crisis.”

“My main goal is to have all these deals completed by the end of 2023 or early 2024,” he added.

Auramon Supthaweethum, Director General of Thailand’s Department of Trade Negotiations stated that negotiations have been stalled owing to Sri Lanka’s financial disaster and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, trade talks between Thailand and Sri Lanka amounted to round $460 million, in accordance to information launched by the nation’s central financial institution.

With India, Sri Lanka hopes to deepen an current FTA after talks have been halted in 2018. The island nation will strive to add providers and investments to the settlement which presently focusses on trade in items.

Weerasinghe stated that FTA talks with China have been additionally stalled in 2018 following a disagreement over the tempo of liberalising Sri Lanka’s financial system.

While each international locations have responded positively to holding the stated talks, particular dates are but to be determined.

Sri Lanka’s central financial institution stated that the nation noticed a monetary fall with its financial system contracting by 8.7 per cent in 2022. However, the central financial institution projected a restoration within the second half of 2023.

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