The much touted Sri Lanka – Singapore FTA was signed on 23 January 2018, marking a milestone moment in the trade and economic relations between the two islands. This blog analyses the key features of the FTA and the benefits Sri Lanka can reap from the partnership.
With the Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak’s visit to Sri Lanka, there has been a renewed interest in entering into a FTA with Malaysia. If such a FTA comes into fruition, how will it impact Sri Lanka’s trade? Preliminary estimates by IPS suggest that likely gains from bilateral trade liberalization in goods will be limited to few products, but there might be gains from other areas of cooperation, namely in investment flows to Sri Lanka.
When it comes to free trade agreements, Sri Lanka should not lament about the trade deficit or the export basket but move forward with the rest of the world to gain maximum benefits from such FTAs. The India-Sri Lanka FTA has worked in favor of Sri Lanka but more work needs to be done to broaden and deepen it to reap the maximum benefits from it for Sri Lanka in an equitable manner.