February, 19, 2018
Thailand says it is keen to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka and will seek cabinet approval for the negotiations.
Auramon Supthaweethum, Director-General of the Trade Negotiations Department in Thailand told the Bangkok Post that Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak plans to sign an FTA with Sri Lanka, as he expects the South Asian country will become a key trading partner.
Sri Lanka is seen as an interesting market in South Asia, given its healthy economic growth average of 6.5% over the last five years, its strategic connectivity to China’s One Belt One Road and FTAs signed with several South Asian nations such as India and Pakistan.
Supthaweethum said the negotiators have already completed an in-depth study of the Sri Lankan FTA. The Commerce Ministry needs to request cabinet approval before starting any talks with Sri Lanka.
The talks are likely to start with trade in goods and may proceed in tandem with the strategic partnership talks. According to the preliminary survey, Sri Lanka desperately needs Thai investment in agro-industrial business, gems and jewellery, tourism, consumer products and electronics.