The 8th Round of Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (SLTFTA) Negotiations have been successfully concluded.

The negotiations, which took place from 27-29 November in Bangkok, were co-chaired by the Director General of the Department of Trade Negotiations and the Chief Negotiator of Thailand, Auramon Supthaweethum and the Chief Negotiator of Sri Lanka, K.J. Weerasinghe, according to the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Bangkok.

The Chief Negotiator of Thailand has welcomed the Sri Lankan delegation to the 8th Round of SLTFTA Negotiations and stated that both countries have agreed to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2023.

The FTA is expected to be signed on February 03, 2024, to coincide with the Independence Day celebrations of Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the Chief Negotiator of Sri Lanka has appreciated Thailand for hosting the 8th Round of SLTFTA Negotiations, while expressing gratitude for agreeing to conclude the SLTFTA Negotiations by the end of this year.

On the sidelines of negotiations, a seminar on “trade and investment opportunities in Thailand and Sri Lanka” was organised by Thailand’s Department of Trade Negotiations and the Department of International Trade Promotion on November 29.

The opening remarks at the Seminar were delivered by the Deputy Minister of Commerce, Napintorn Srisunpang and Ambassador of Sri Lanka and Permanent Representative to the UNESCAP, C. A. Chaminda I. Colonne.

Deputy Minister Napintorn, in his remarks, has highlighted that the establishment of the Thailand-Sri Lanka FTA is an opportunity to expand trade and investment into new markets in South Asia. “Sri Lanka is strategically located on the shipping routes of the Indian Ocean. It is linked to South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and is a key strategic link in China’s Maritime Silk Road and has abundant resources such as gems, aquatic animals and minerals, which are raw materials that Thailand’s domestic industry needs.”

During her remarks, Ambassador Colonne stated that despite the longstanding historical relations between our two brotherly nations based on Buddhist religious values, the two-way trade between Sri Lanka and Thailand amounted to only USD 352 million in 2022. “It is regrettable to state that the total investment received from Thailand in Sri Lanka is negligible, with only USD 0.74 million recorded in 2022. The vision of the Government of Sri Lanka is to integrate into the global economy and in this context, to expand economic and trade relations to South Asia and then to the East and to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Sri Lanka has submitted its letter of intent to RCEP Secretariat.”

The delegation of Thailand consisted of Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Trade, Thai Customs Department, Board of Investment and Office of the Council of State.