- Published on Sunday, 05 August 2012 20:15
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The Indian Minister Saturday (4th) called on the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees for further discussions on India's commitment to be a friend and a partner of Sri Lanka in meeting its aspirations of growth and development.
An agreement to setup a Joint Task Force, which will submit its report within 90 days and to work on the implementation of establishment of the two special economic zones has also been reached during discussions.
Shri Sharma, after his discussions with the Sri Lankan leadership in the morning, announced that India will assist Sri Lanka in the establishment of Engineering and Automobile components SEZ which would be located near Trincomalee and will promote exports to the production chains in India. The proposed Engineering and Automobile components hub will also have a Skill Training Institute. The Minister also announced that India and Sri Lanka will work together towards the establishment of a Pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in Sri Lanka capitalising on the vast strides made by Indians.
“We have set the target to double the trade to USD 10 Billion by 2015. Captains of industry have accepted and endorsed it”, said the Minister. The Minister along with Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce and . Sarath Amunugama, Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation, A.H.M. Fawzie, Senior Minister for Urban Affairs and Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development of Sri Lanka inaugurated The India Show in Colombo.
The Minister emphasized that the signing of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries will make the current economic engagement more comprehensive by bringing more investment and services into Sri Lanka.
"India has an abiding commitment in Sri Lanka's Development and FTA has definitely contributed to the increase in trade", said the Indian Minister.
The Commerce Secretaries of the two countries will resume dialogue on CEPA, and resolve all related issues, he said.
He also appreciated the large infrastructure projects being implemented by the Indian Companies including the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in Sri Lanka such as Railway projects and the Sampur Power plant project.
The Minister also highlighted that India has been among the top investors in Sri Lanka, is Sri Lanka's largest trading partner and source of largest number of tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka.
Minister Bathiudeen said the signing of India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement in 1998 an historic milestone and underlined the synergy between Indian and Sri Lankan companies as a competitive necessity. The Minister highlighting that the resurgent Sri Lankan economy was growing at a rate of over 8% during last two years invited Indian corporate sector to be part of Sri Lanka's growth.