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Thailand begins talks on FTA with Sri Lanka

z_pi-ThailandThailand has started negotiations to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka, said Chulamanee Chartsuwan, Ambassador of Thailand to Sri Lanka addressing the ‘Bilateral Trade between Sri Lanka and Thailand’ discussion yesterday at the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.

She said Thailand plans to triple trade with Sri Lanka by 2020 from the US$5 million mark today. The Thailand Industrial Zone which will be a BOI project initiated by Thai’s Rojana company will be the biggest Thai investment in Sri Lanka where many high tech companies will invest in Sri Lanka. The first phrase of this zone will be complete by 2018, she said.

The embassy plans to organize a tour of Thai businessman in July-August 2019 which will enable to promote more partnerships between SMEs of both countries. Chartsuwan also invited Sri Lankan businessman to register in trade fairs in Thailand so that they can use that registration as credentials to obtain visas.

The Thai Ambassador said Thailand was working on reforming the visa system. Sri Lanka businessman can now request for visas by sending an email request which they will facilitate one by one. There is also a possibility for Sri Lankan businessman to obtain six months and one year multiple visas. The Ambassador however cautioned that Sri Lanka should consider improving its Doing Business ranking which has further deteriorated from 110 last year to 111 this year. An improvement in the Doing Business ranking will be very conducive to the country, she said.

Chartsuwan said Thailand has attracted over US$7 billion in investment in the first quarter of 2017. She said Thailand expects a 10% growth in tourism in 2017 with a target of 35 million tourists; already 14.6 million tourists have arrived in the first five months to Thailand. Thailand’s Doing Business ranking has improved from 46 last year to 26 this year, she said.

Deepal Nelson, Secretary, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, emphasized the need for encouraging youth into business and empowering SMEs in Sri Lanka.

Courtesy – Daily News

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