Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in 1998 paving way for the two countries to strengthen their trade relations is Sri Lanka’s most significant bond with India, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.
Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement was the most significant Indo-Sri Lanka partnership we have realized on the commercial front Minister Bathiudeen said addressing the inaugural event of the UEF Trade Summit 2017 at the Chennai Trade Centre, Tamil Nadu on 18 November.
The event, the second edition in the series organized by the United Economic Forum was unveiled by the Minister for Finance of Government of Jammu and Kashmir Haseeb A. Drabu.
Minister Bathiudeen said the FTA signed in 1998 played a crucial role in shaping Sri Lanka’s subsequent economic integration with other countries in the region.
“Undoubtedly this was the most significant Indo-Sri Lanka partnership we have realized on the commercial front. I am sure that the ISLFTA played a crucial role as a catalyst that shaped our subsequent economic integration that the other countries in the region. With the ISFTA becoming operational in year 2000, the value of Indo-Lanka bilateral trade has increased in an unprecedented manner from US$ 650 million in 2000, to close to US$ 5 billion by 2016.”
In 2016, Lankan exports to India totaled US$ 551.2 million of which 68% (US$ 375.2 million) were exports under ISFTA. Sri Lanka’s top five exports -both under ISFTA and out of it-to India last year were pepper, animal feeds, nuts, paper/paperboard and ships & vessels. Total bilateral trade for last year was US$ 4.37 Billion while from January-August this year it reported US$ 3.26 billion. Sri Lanka’s leading import item from India (for the past 5 years) has been petroleum oil.