Sri Lanka and RoK are members of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) formerly known as Bangkok Agreement / which was signed in 1975 with the initiative of the ESCAP for promoting intra-regional trade through exchange of mutually agreed tariff concessions by member countries. Member countries of the Bangkok Agreement are Bangladesh, China, India, Republic of Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. The ESCAP functions as the secretariat for the Agreement.
The APTA member countries cover a total population of about 2.5 billion, which is a vast potential market to increase the level of intra-regional trade flows among the participating states.
The Fourth Round of APTA launched in October 2007 and concluded in 2017, led to tariff concessions over 10,000 items, compared to 4,290 items under the Third Round. As Directed by the Fourth APTA Ministerial Declaration, the participating States are now engaged in formulating the modalities and Terms of References (TORs) for the fifth round of APTA negotiations.
The 53rd session of SC and 2nd round of the working groups meetings was held from 11 and 14 September 2018 in Seoul, hosted by the government of the Republic of Korea.
Sri Lanka’s Exports to RoK under APTA accounts for US 32.5 Mn in 2018, which is 51% of Sri Lanka’s total export to ROK.
Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA)
The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA), which was signed on 28th December 1998 and entered into force with effect from 1st March 2000, provides duty free concessions to a wide range of products traded between the two countries. Accordingly, Sri Lanka has already got duty free access to the vast Indian market under the ISFTA. Thus, the entrepreneurs based in Sri Lanka can export more than 4000 product lines to the Indian market on duty free basis.
Sri Lanka –Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA)
A significant improvement in trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan has been recorded with the implementation of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) w.e.f. 12th June 2005.
Sri Lanka – Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA)
Sri Lanka signed the Sri Lanka – Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) on 23 January 2018 and the Agreement was brought into operation with effect from 1 May 2018. The SLSFTA covers: investment, goods, services, trade facilitation, government procurement, telecommunications, e-commerce, and dispute settlement.
Preferential tariffs are also granted for agreed products under regional and bilateral trade agreements namely, the South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA), the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP).
In addition, Sri Lanka enjoys Tariff Concessions under EU-GSP Plus Scheme and other GSP Schemes such as USA, CIS, Japan and Canada.
Sri Lanka and China initiated a joint feasibility study to assess the benefits of an FTA between the two countries in August, 2013. The study was completed by March 2014. The heads of the two countries officially launched FTA negotiations in September 2014. According to the joint feasibility study, the agreement is expected to cover both trade in goods and services.