COLOMBO - Sri Lanka plans to conclude free trade agreement (FTA) talks with Thailand in December and sign a deal on Feb 3, Sri Lanka's cabinet spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The island nation has been renewing a focus on trade deals to foster growth and help its battered economy recover from the worst financial crisis in decades.
"Th agreement on the proposed Sri Lanka–Thailand Free Trade Agreement (SLTFTA) will be signed ... subsequent to the completion of the rounds of discussions," Cabinet spokesman and Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardane told reporters at a weekly briefing.
The countries' two-way trade was worth about US$460 million in 2021, Sri Lankan central bank data shows. Sri Lanka exports mainly tea and precious stones to Thailand and imports electronic equipment, food, rubber, plastics and pharmaceuticals.
Sri Lanka restarted talks on an expanded trade agreement with India this month and has said it wants an FTA with Bangladesh and eventually wants membership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes China, Japan and South Korea.
Labourers work at a tea plantation in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka. (Photo: AFP)