The eighth Round of Talks of the US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Joint Council was held in Colombo yesterday.
The talks focused on a number of subject matters pertaining to securing enhanced access for Sri Lankan and US exports in each other’s markets, promotion of US investment into Sri Lanka, intellectual property rights and exchange of technical cooperation.
After detailed deliberations, the two sides agreed to work toward a comprehensive plan of action that would guide appropriate follow-up on areas of mutual interest through engagement of the respective private and public sectors.
Michael Delaney, Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) for Central and South Asia and Tilak Collure, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries and Commerce led the US and Sri Lanka delegations respectively.
The US delegation consisted of senior officials, representing the office of the USTR, the US Departments of Commerce, State, Agriculture, the US Patents and Trademark Office, US Small Business Administration and the US Embassy in Colombo, while the Sri Lanka delegation included officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Departments of Commerce, Tariff and Trade Policy, Health, Agriculture, Sri Lanka Customs, Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC and several other trade and investment related agencies.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen delivered the opening statement.
In addition to their discussions on issues relating to trade and investment policy, the two Governments continued their talks on how best they could promote private-public partnership cooperation between the two countries.
The delegations also discussed the avenues available to them for involving the private sector stakeholders in the numerous investment opportunities available to them in post-conflict Sri Lanka.
In this context, both the US and Sri Lanka delegations were pleased with the outcome of the fact finding visit made to Jaffna on 12 October and the Private-Public Partnership Conference held in Colombo on 13 October.
The two sides agreed to pursue their concerted efforts in further enhancing US-Sri Lanka commercial and economic relations as well as promoting private sector involvement in the island’s post-conflict development efforts.
The delegations agreed to hold the ninth Round of Talks in Washington DC, USA on a mutually convenient date.