COLOMBO, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The fourth round of negotiations on the proposed Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held here from Monday to Wednesday, and Sri Lanka hopes to sign the agreement in the first quarter of 2024, said the President's Media Division (PMD).
The PMD said on March 26, a 35-member Thai delegation led by Auramon Supthaweethum, director general of the Department of Trade Negotiations, arrived in Sri Lanka for the talks.
During the third round of negotiations in January, discussions on the proposed Sri Lanka-Thailand FTA focused on areas such as trade in goods, trade in services, investment, rules of origin, customs cooperation, trade facilitation, and economic cooperation.
The fourth round of talks are built on the principles already agreed upon and delve deeper into these areas. Additionally, discussions will be held on trade remedies, technical barriers to trade, and legal matters.
Prior to the fourth round of negotiations, Sri Lanka's National Trade Negotiations Committee and relevant subcommittees engaged in discussions with various industry sectors and stakeholders.
The Sri Lankan negotiating team's goals for the talks focused not only on increasing its access to the Thai market, but also on improving market access to other countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations through the Thai market, and to reduce existing non-tariff barriers.
According to the PMD, Sri Lanka in 2021 imported goods from Thailand worth 355 million U.S. dollars and exported 59 million dollars worth of commodities to Thailand.