May 26, 2019
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    New pickup in the levels of Indo-Lanka trade and investments

    June 24, 2014

    The new Indian government is still settling down and has not indicated any changes in its trade with Sri Lanka yet. “With the new Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the focus is on economy and trade. As for the new government, it is still settling down. But wait and see-there will be a huge focus on economic matters -especially with other trading partners” said a keen  P. Kumaran, Deputy High Commissioner of India on Monday (23).

    Deputy High Commissioner Kumaran was meeting Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka during his farewell courtesy call with Minister Bathiudeen on Monday evening (23)  at EDB, Colombo. Deputy High Commissioner Kumaran was making his observations in response to Minister Bathiudeen’s praise on Kumaran’s strong contribution during his tenure in Colombo.

     

    “We are happy about the new pickup in the levels of Indo-Lanka trade and investments during the last three years. And we can do even better. With the new Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the focus is on economy and trade” said Deputy High Commissioner Kumaran, and added: “Therefore the outlook for the Indian economy is already becoming more positive. Sri Lanka should take more advantages from India. There is no sign of any changes in India’s trade and investment push towards Sri Lanka by India’s new administration-not yet. The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a credible record of a good economic manager changes the entire outlook. There will be lots of improvements of trade and investment with neighbouring countries.


    "However, I request for priority on two aspects from Sri Lanka- first being the speeding up of proposed automobile sector manufacturing and the pharmaceutical zones. The second being the two agreements to improve the FTA implementation-first being the testing and standards requirements and the second being customs facilitation. We have already submitted draft proposals to Sri Lanka and await for response so that the dialogue moves forward. The complaint is from Sri Lankan side really-indicating that Lankan exporters have some difficulties in Chennai etc. ‘Testing’ is the other aspect-Sri Lankan exporters want this to be standardised. If our draft proposals on these two aspects are taken, and we conclude these agreements speedily, then we can immediately move towards the special economic partnership including increase of trade and reducing the negative list etc. As for the new government, it is still settling down. But wait and see-there will be a huge focus on economic matters -especially with other countries.”

     

    According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, total bilateral trade between two countries stood at $ 3636.0 Mn in 2013.  Exports from Sri Lanka to India in 2013 stood at $ 543.3 Mn while total imports from India to Sri Lanka stood at $ 3092.6 Mn. The balance of trade between India and Sri Lanka always remained in favor of India due to the increased outlay on major import items from India, such as petroleum products, automobiles, cotton, sugar etc. Interestingly, the unfavorable balance (of trade) narrowed in 2013 -to $ 2549.3 Mn from $ 2950.8 Mn in 2012.

     

    “Your tenure here has been rewarding to Sri Lanka and a success-Congrats and our warm wishes for your next posting” said Minister Bathiudeen responding to Deputy High Commissioner Kumaran, and added: “We are also keen to see better bilateral trade so that exporters at both sides benefit. In fact, our exports to India are still at $ 550 Mn levels and show unrealised upward potential that could be fulfilled with closer cooperation. I am also happy to note of your contribution towards FDI to Sri Lanka, for which I thank you on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka.”(KH/SI)

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