Sri Lanka is keen to improve the existing free trade agreement with India to gain better market access for goods such as textiles and auto parts and to include services, especially IT/ITES, said the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda.
As Sri Lanka’s economy prepares to move from stabilization to recovery phase, the country is looking to India for support through increased investment, trade and tourist flows , Maragoda said during a media interaction, organized by the Indian Women’s Press Corps. In Monday.
“We are grateful for India’s support to Sri Lanka so far. In the stabilization phase, without India we could not have held out for so long. In the recovery phase, we are looking at more market access and investment from India,” Moragoda said, adding that the fastest way for the economy to rebound would be through tourism.
Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis, with the government blaming the Covid pandemic, which has severely affected Sri Lanka’s tourism trade, of having undermined its foreign exchange reserves. The country is expected to make a presentation to its international creditors this week giving details of its debt restructuring plans and the IMF’s multi-billion dollar bailout.
Responding to questions, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner said India had not turned down any request for additional credit made by his country and talks were ongoing. India has so far committed over $3 billion in loans, lines of credit and credit swaps to Sri Lanka.
On the India-Sri Lanka FTA, Moragoda pointed out that his country’s president had recently expressed his interest in transforming the FTA into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership and that work was starting in that direction.
“We want to be part of India’s value chain in areas like textiles and automobiles,” he said, adding that the enhanced FTA could help achieve this.
Moragoda pointed out that there is already a lot of IT collaboration with Indian majors such as HCL, Tata and Infosys showing interest.
September 19, 2022