You`ve reached the limit of premium items that you can view for free. Like all free trade agreements, extending market access through the removal of tariffs is an important feature of the SLSFTA. Singapore is one of the most open economies in the world, with the import of a large proportion of duty-free imports, with the exception of a few,2, liberalization has taken place in Sri Lanka. Under the agreement, which is a relatively long period of adaptation, Sri Lanka will phase out tariffs on 80% of goods over a 15-year period. However, given the concerns that domestic industry might have had about openness and the economic uncertainties that could result from an increase in import supply in certain segments of the economy, the long phasing is understandable. 5 Global edges. Sri Lanka: trade statistics. Available at globaledge.msu.edu/countries/sri-lanka/tradestats. A closer look at an important agreement between the two parties. However, the Department of Development Strategies and International Trade should have engaged in a much more robust process, with consistent cross-communication with all stakeholders involved in the SLSFTA. A more structured approach would have given more confidence to stakeholders in the process. We are encouraged by the cabinet`s decision of July 31, 2018 to institutionalize the Trade Negotiations Committee for future trade negotiations.
Regular updates before and after the rounds of negotiations, similar to updating the status after the 9th round of ECTA[i] negotiations, should be a top priority of the negotiating committee. These updates should be made in a timely manner, as delayed publications alter their value. Market access in Singapore was not a problem for Sri Lanka even before the agreement. Singapore is one of the most open economies in the world: 99% of imported goods are duty-free and few imports are prohibited. As Sri Lanka is closely integrated into the Trade and Trade Network of Southeast Asia through the SLSFTA, it is moving closer to the possibility of becoming a formal part of ASEAN`s commercial architecture. Indeed, the agreement marks the beginning of the possibility of joining Sri Lanka`s Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) at a later date after the conclusion of the RCEP and becoming a central element of the great Asia Free Trade Agreement.4 Sri Lanka`s efforts should be supported by Singapore. Membership of the RCEP, the world`s largest free trade agreement between the 10-member ASEAN and its six FTA partners, which accounts for more than a third of global GDP and nearly half of the world`s population, would give Sri Lanka access to a huge regional market and dynamic Asian direct investment.