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China, Sri Lanka To Discuss FTA Signing In June

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

04 May 2016


Sri Lanka and China will hold high-level discussions in June on the possibility of signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), according to a statement by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Industry and Commerce on May 2.

"China is a promising market for selected Sri Lankan premium products, and an important round of bilateral talks on the Sri Lanka-China FTA is scheduled for next month," said the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishard Bathiudeen.

He added that total trade between Sri Lanka and China crossed the USD4bn mark in 2015 for the first time, increasing by 17 percent from the previous year. However, about 93 percent of that trade was imports from China, mainly iron and steel, fabrics and fibers, and urea fertilizer. Sri Lankan exports to China remain minimal.

FTA negotiations between China and Sri Lanka were launched in September 2014. It has previously been suggested that, although there is still no indication of the terms of any agreement, the substantial Sri Lankan garment industry could be a main beneficiary of the FTA, in particular from tariff reductions.

Sri Lanka has already signed FTAs with India and Pakistan, and both the agreements allow more than 4,000 product lines to be exported to those markets with a zero-duty rate.

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Sri Lanka | tariffs | China | agreements | manufacturing | import duty | trade

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