20 delegates from USA in Sri Lanka for TIFA talks after 4-year hiatus

Monday, 18 September 2023 04:17 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 14th round of talks to focus on trade, investment, customs, labour, intellectual property, IT and agriculture sectors

Twenty delegates from the USA have arrived in Sri Lanka to participate in the 14th Council Meeting of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between the two countries, which is to be held in Colombo today (18 September).  

The event will be extra special for the two countries as it coincides with the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations between the two nations. The USA is the largest export destination, on a country basis. Further, in the context of the broad policy perspective of the Government on economic and trade relations, this collaboration is of great importance.

Previous to this, it was in 2019 that Sri Lanka hosted the 13th Council meeting of TIFA between the USA and Sri Lanka which was signed in 2002. After a hiatus of 4 years, this year the council meeting expects to cover a wide range of contemporary important areas leading to enhanced collaboration between the two nations.

Furthering the flourished friendship between the two countries into a more dynamic and multifaceted relationship, it is expected that both countries re-engage on a wide variety of bilateral trade and investment-related issues like; policies impacting the investment climate, recent labour reforms, intellectual property protection and enforcement, customs and trade facilitation, and technical barriers to trade and market access for apparel, gem and jewellery and agricultural products.

Given the constrained economic situation, officials said Sri Lanka looks forward to making this a platform to build more fruitful partnerships and collaborations with this leading economy in identified multiple sectors. 

Development of the country's digital economy, gem and jewellery industry, floriculture industry, and boat building industry are a few such sectors that Sri Lanka wishes to have such cooperation efforts in.  Moreover, recognising the technological advancement that the USA possesses in contrast to that in Sri Lanka, Coconut Research Institute anticipates proposing a technology transfer from the USA especially in relation to their research commercialisation.

Delegations will include officials from corresponding agencies in the two countries in trade, investment, customs, labour, intellectual property, and agriculture sectors.

The Sri Lankan delegation will be headed by the Office for International Trade Chief Negotiator, K.J. Weerasinghe and the US delegation is led by Assistant US Trade Representative for South & Central Asia Brendan Lynch.

Sri Lanka's exports to the US in 2022 amounted to a record $ 3.3 billion accounting for 25.3% of the total. Between 2018 and 2022, exports to the US have been ranging between a low of $ 2.5 billion (2020) and $ 3.3 billion last year. Imports from the US in 2022 were $ 378 million or 2.1% of the total. The highest value in the past five years was $ 542 million in 2019.

The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo sponsors today’s event, the 14th Joint Council meeting of TIFA between USA and Sri Lanka.