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Singapore and Sri Lanka to expand cooperation and bilateral ties

Singapore and Sri Lanka to expand cooperation and bilateral ties

[January 24 2018]

Free Trade Agreement signed

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong said that his government would take steps to expand economic, trade and investment cooperation between Sri Lanka and Singapore.

The Singaporean Prime Minister on a tour to Sri Lanka said this during his meeting with the President Maithripala Sirisena today (23) at the Presidential Secretariat.

The Prime Minister and the first lady were given a warm welcome by President Maithripala Sirisena and first lady Jayanthi Sirisena when they arrived at the Presidential Secretariat. The welcome included a guard of honour.

Bilateral discussions were held after a cordial meeting between the two leaders.

Both leaders discussed the plans to expand economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

A free trade agreement was signed in the presence of the two leaders. It was signed by Minister of Development Strategy and International Trade Malik Samarawickarama and Trade and Industries Minister of Singapore, S. Eeshwaran.

The Prime Minister of Singapore stated that the agreement signed between the two countries would bring benefits to both the countries in trade and investment sectors creating new opportunities within these fields.

Prime Minister said that it is expected to expand the assistance given by Singapore in order to develop vocational training, provide new job opportunities to Sri Lankans, and infrastructure development.

It was also stated by Hon. Hsieng Loong, that opportunities of investments in small and medium scale enterprises in Sri Lanka have expanded during the last few years and that his government would encourage investors consider Sri Lanka as a favourable investment destination.

Both leaders discussed cooperation in many fields including health, tourism, ecommerce, power and energy and infrastructure. The two leaders agreed that the development plans should be made to uplift the economic cooperation between the countries.

The President who appreciated the assistance from Singapore in order to train Sri Lankan public servants, appealed to the Singaporean Prime Minister to provide technical assistance for the development of Sri Lankan public training institutions. The Singaporean Prime Minister assured that his special attention would be paid on this matter.

The visiting Premier also agreed to look into the President's request to increase cooperation in vocational training sector and to assist in reforms in the education sector to increase technical and vocational training.

There are lot Sri Lankans engaging in diverse sectors in Singapore and that they are happily employed, said the President admitting that the workers from Sri Lanka should be exposed to new professions and asked the Prime Minister to expand opportunities for Sri Lankan workers.

The president highlighted the necessity of a collective effort for the two island nations to fight drug trafficking in the region.

Sri Lanka and Singapore cooperate closely in international fora and Sri Lanka closely collaborates with the ASEAN organization. Singapore Premier assured President Sirisena that Singapore will support Sri Lanka's application seeking Sectoral Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN for more engagement.

The President briefed the Premier about the steps taken after becoming the President in 2015 to to achieve good governance in the country by strengthening reconciliation and economic development.

The President explained the steps taken to restore freedom and democracy in the country, and how he provided leadership to curb excessive powers of the prevailing executive presidency through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

The President thanked the prime minister for the tour he undertook to Sri Lanka and admitted that this tour will help to make ties between the two countries stronger and cooperation would increase in different fields eventually.

Sri Lankan delegation comprised of Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesighe, and ministers John Amaratunge, Thilak Marapone, Thalatha Athukorala, Mahinda Amaraweera, Chandima Weerakkody, Malik Samarawickarama, Ranjith Maddumabandara, Duminda Dissanayake, and Sagala Rathnayake. The the Singaporean delegation included foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Trade and Commerce, S. Isawaran and Singaporean High Commissioner for Sri Lanka S. Chandra Das and parliament members Liang En Hwa, Sktiandi Bin Supaat.



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