President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Free Trade Agreement would be revived and upgraded into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership.
He pointed out Sri Lanka and India gradually have to wean themselves out of the barriers to investment and the non-tariff barriers to trade especially in relation to Sri Lanka Indo economic relations.
The President also said that they will focus on the Indo-Sri Lanka projects that were delayed on the Sri Lankan end.
He made these observations addressing the Sri Lanka India Society (SLIS) get-together held at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo on Thursday (15) evening to mark the 75th anniversary of independence of India.
“So this is the first step that will pave the way. It also means that we had to remove the red tape. We are looking at restructuring our institutions of having of looking at a separate ministry which will deal with ease of doing business competitiveness at the same time, to look forward to the different trade agreements that we will come to. So there is scope for the Sri Lanka and India to get together and look at their different areas for instance, logistics, renewable energy, tourism, trade, I.T. There are many, many areas which we can work together and we should work together for the benefit of our two countries,” the President said.
“Secondly, we are looking at all the projects which India and Sri Lanka had agreed to, but unfortunately it had got delayed at the Sri Lankan end. So I have asked my chief of staff who is here to work on it, and I saw him today surrounded by different officials explaining why they couldn’t do it. So I presume after some time we come to the stage, they will tell us that we will do it,” he added.
First Lady Senior Professor Maithree Wickremesinghe, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka – Gopal Baglay, SLIS President – Kishore Reddy, Chief of Staff to the President and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Rathnayake also participated in the event.