Sri Lanka and Thailand to Ink Free Trade Pact in February 2024
The Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka has announced the impending signing of the Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (SLTFTA) in February 2024. To facilitate this milestone, negotiations for the agreement are set to conclude by the end of this month, as disclosed by the ministry.
This revelation follows the successful culmination of the eighth round of SLTFTA negotiations held in Bangkok, Thailand, from November 27th to 29th. Chaired by Auramon Supthaweethum, Thailand’s Chief Negotiator, and K. J. Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka’s Chief Negotiator, the talks marked significant progress.
During a seminar in Bangkok titled “Trade and Investment Opportunities in Thailand and Sri Lanka,” Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UNESCAP, C. A. Chaminda I. Colonne, highlighted the longstanding historical ties based on shared Buddhist values between the two nations. Despite this, the bilateral trade volume in 2022 stood at a modest USD 352 million, suggesting substantial untapped potential.
Ambassador Colonne underscored that investments from Thailand into Sri Lanka remained minimal, recording merely USD 0.74 million in 2022. He outlined the vision of the Sri Lankan Government, aiming to integrate into the global economy. In this context, Sri Lanka aspires to expand its economic and trade connections, starting from South Asia and extending towards the East. Additionally, Sri Lanka has expressed interest in joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), signifying its commitment by submitting a letter of intent.