Malaysia pledges to fast-track FTA with SL

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 01:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Malaysian PM meets President, undertakes efforts to build stronger relations 
  • Several MoUs signed, PM says Malaysian companies interested in investing in SL 
  •  Commemorative stamp released to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations

Visiting Malaysian Prime Minister  Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak yesterday vowed to strengthen relations with Sri Lanka and increase investment by fast-tracking the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries when he met President Maithripala Sirisena. 

Both sides agreed to expand the existing close cooperation in many fields including trade and investment, agriculture, science and technology, including nanotechnology and biotechnology, e-commerce, e-courts, international forums, military training, diplomatic training and intelligence exchange to curb drugs and human smuggling.

Three agreements were signed after the conclusion of bilateral talks held between the two leaders, which featured Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and a number of Malaysian and Sri Lankan ministers.

 The bilateral meeting was held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

The Malaysian Prime Minister undertook this official visit to Sri Lanka to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, with a special stamp and first-day cover issued to mark the occasion.

Premier Najib said bilateral trade between the two countries had steadily grown during the last few years and during the first 10 months of this year it had reached $ 680 million. However, since trade is heavily balanced in Malaysia’s favour, the Prime Minister assured that Malaysia would explore every possibility to ensure an increase of Sri Lankan exports to Malaysia. The Prime Minister said the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be useful to further expand trade and said his ministers would take steps to speed up talks. 

Malaysia has invested $ 3.1 million in 47 projects in Sri Lanka and Malaysian entrepreneurs were looking into many sectors for potential investments, the Prime Minister revealed. 

Two Memorandums of Understanding on the Training of Diplomats and Cooperation in Foresight and Science-2-Action and Memorandum of Collaboration between the Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation of Sri Lanka and Malaysian Bio-economy Development Cooperation SDN BHD were signed between the two countries.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, ministers John Amaratunga, Tilak Marapana, Rajitha Senaratne, Susil Premajayantha, Malik Samarawickrama, Gayantha Karunathilaka and Thalatha Athukorale, the secretaries to the President and Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and several Malaysian ministers, advisors and senior officials were present at the bilateral discussion. The Malaysian Prime Minister is slated to meet Wickremesinghe today.