Sri Lanka plans to seal an economic partnership agreement with India this year, Reuters said in a report a short while ago quoting Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, visiting New Delhi on his first visit abroad since winning a general election last month, said voters had given his government of national unity a mandate for trade and investment with India.
“We are looking at a permanent agreement on cooperation on economic affairs — trade, investment and technology — which is essential for development,” Wickremesinghe told reporters after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Wickremesinghe said he hoped a framework economic cooperation agreement could be agreed in principle by the end of this year and to have final agreements “in place” by mid-2016.
According to the Reuters report, Modi addressed fears that India’s US$2 trillion economy could dominate that of Sri Lanka, with a gross domestic product of just $75 billion, by saying that he would like bilateral trade to grow and become more balanced.
“We both want deeper economic engagement,” Modi said.
He had added that Indian businesses were keen to invest in Sri Lanka’s infrastructure, energy and transport sectors.
Bilateral trade touched $3.64 billion in 2013, the last year for which figures were available from the government. Of that, India’s exports to the island were $3.09 billion while it imported $543 million worth of goods from Sri Lanka.