The pact aims to comprehensively enhance bilateral trade and investments in new and priority areas
India and Sri Lanka have relaunched negotiations on an Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) by holding the 12th round of negotiations in Colombo, Sri Lanka from October 30, 2023 to November 1, 2023.

The pact aims to comprehensively enhance bilateral trade and investments in new and priority areas. The two countries had 11 rounds of bilateral talks from 2016 to 2018. Thereafter the negotiations were paused. Colombo and New Delhi are now keen to finalise the agreement to help rebuild the Sri Lankan economy. 

"On the proposed ETCA, both sides agreed on the need to build on progress made in past, while revisiting their positions wherever possible to reflect new developments," the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Wednesday (November 1, 2023).

They identified the areas of convergence and areas where they need to find creative solutions, the ministry added.

During this round, both sides engaged in discussions on various chapters including Trade in Goods, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Trade in Services, Custom Procedure & Trade Facilitation, Rules of Origin, Trade Remedies, Economic & Technology Cooperation and Dispute Settlement. 

The two delegations reviewed the progress on implementation and decided to drop nine issues as being resolved. At the same time, issues like the quota on apparel and pepper and the procurement of pharmaceuticals were also discussed.  Both sides decided to continue the discussion and explore new options for resolution of the matter, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said. 

"The conclusion of the negotiations is expected to open new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation for both countries. The India-Sri Lanka ETCA will be a pivotal move to further enhance bilateral trade between the two countries. Both sides acknowledged the huge potential in India and Sri Lanka trade partnership and the possibilities for enhanced economic relations in areas of mutual interest," the Ministry of Commerce said.

The Sri Lankan delegation was led by Chief Negotiator K J Weerasinghe while the Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce, Government & Chief Negotiator Anant Swarup.