The ETCA is expected to promote growth of up to $500 billion within the sub-regional economy. It will also help Sri Lanka get wider access to the rapidly growing Indian market.
The announcement to sign the ETCA, which has been under negotiation for some time now, was made by Wickremesinghe at the Inaugural Plenary at the India Economic Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New Delhi.
Sri Lanka was in the process of negotiating Free Trade Agreements with several countries. India would have access to not just the Sri Lankan market but also to markets in Singapore, Japan and China among others after these agreements come into force.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister also invited Indian companies to invest in various sectors in his country as he aims to convert it into a logistic, finance and business hub of South Asia.
“The reforms being undertaken by India is making it a more attractive place for companies to do business,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of state for commerce and industry.
Sitharaman highlighted the measures undertaken by the Indian government in the recent past to help improve the country’s competitiveness in the world. These include the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which would integrate 800 transactions onto a single platform and Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile which ensures financial inclusion of those who are unbanked.
She said that the government was adopting measures to improve processes and regulations to help improve the ease of doing business in the country. Sitharaman also stated that Indian states are working with the Central government to achieve a growth of 8 per cent.
“According to the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index, India is now one of the 40 most competitive economies in the world thanks to the reform measures that had been undertaken,” said professor Klaus Schwab, executive chairman, WEF.
“The measures taken by the government have helped improve the ease of doing business in the country,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII. (KD)
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