Singapore launches free trade deal talks with Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's PM Ranil Wickremesinghe (standing, left) and Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong witness a MOU signing ceremony between Sri Lanka's Malik Samarawickrama and Singaporean counterpart S Iswaran at the Istana in Singapore July 18.
Sri Lanka's PM Ranil Wickremesinghe (standing, left) and Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong witness a MOU signing ceremony between Sri Lanka's Malik Samarawickrama and Singaporean counterpart S Iswaran at the Istana in Singapore July 18.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Sri Lanka launched negotiations for a Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on Monday (July 18).

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran and his counterpart, Sri Lanka's Minister for Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, signed a joint statement to launch the trade negotiations at the Istana, under the auspices of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Mr Wickremesinghe is in Singapore on an official visit at the invitation of Mr Lee.

During an official lunch after the signing ceremony, Mr Lee said: "I am glad that today we have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch our FTA negotiations.

"When we complete the FTA, it will be a boost for companies and investors from both sides... I am optimistic that with strong political backing, our negotiations will be concluded quickly.

"Singapore is also happy to play a modest role in supporting Sri Lanka's development and reform agenda."