Economic Growth

Overcoming Obstacles: The Economic Case for a Sri Lanka-Thailand FTA

In 2019, only 6% of tea imported by Thailand was from Sri Lanka. This low percentage can be attributed to the difference in preferences and Thailand’s high tariffs of 90% on imported tea, which act as barriers to Sri Lanka’s tea exports. Additionally, Thailand imposes up to 30% tariffs on nearly 120 product lines of wearing apparel. These high tariffs for products with a comparative advantage are not exclusive to Sri Lanka. Thailand also faces higher tariffs for vehicles, rubber, and light-electronics exports which Thailand exports competitively. This tariff structure hampers the bilateral trade of products with a higher comparative advantage for both countries. Despite these challenges, Sri Lanka and Thailand have expedited the process of signing a free trade agreement (FTA) to boost bilateral trade by threefold to USD 1.5 billion. This article discusses the trade effect of an FTA and a way forward to maximise the gains from an FTA.

Sri Lanka’s Human Capital Progress: Still Less than its Full Potential

The World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) summarises the ‘amount of human capital a child born today could expect to attain by age 18’. Sri Lanka’s HCI for 2018, the best in the South Asian region, is 0.58. However, there is room for improvement. A closer examination of the sub-indices of the HCI shows that two of the areas that need attention are education and health.

Fuelling Sri Lanka’s Tourism Sector to Achieve SDGs

In Sri Lanka, the tourism sector boasts of a vast potential to reach economic growth targets. It can also help achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such, this blog discusses some of the ways in which tourism could make useful contributions towards reducing poverty and inequality, conserving the environment, improving water and sanitation, and promoting public-private partnerships.

Charting a Course for Sri Lanka’s Economy: Politics Triumph Economics for Now

In this article Dushni Weerakoon points out the need for Sri Lanka to confront difficult and delayed reforms to make the economy more efficient and competitive.