Trade and investment framework agreement council meeting
The seventh U.S.-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment
Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting was held in Colombo, Sri
Lanka on October 15. The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant United
States Trade Representative for South and Central Asia Michael Delaney.
G. L. Peiris, Minister for Export Development and International Trade,
led the Sri Lankan delegation.
"Our purpose here today is to foster economic
development and generate jobs, particularly in the war-affected areas of
Sri Lanka," Michael Delaney said. "Today's meetings served to identify
areas of common interest and deepen our commitment to expanded bilateral
trade and investment between the United States and Sri Lanka. We also
identified new areas of cooperation between our two countries."
"The seventh round of TIFA talks takes place at a
historic juncture in the Sri Lankan economy. It is heartening to note
that the TIFA process has already begun to expand beyond its traditional
boundaries," said Trade Minister Peiris.
"Sri Lanka is particularly pleased to note that the
TIFA has become an effective tool in attracting private sector
participation in its post-conflict development efforts and the
government of Sri Lanka deeply appreciates the most valuable cooperation
the United States continue to extend on this direction. As we move
forward, TIFA is certain to play an increasingly important role in
further advancing the long standing relations between the United States
and Sri Lanka."
U.S. and Sri Lankan officials gauged the progress the
two countries have made in advancing bilateral trade and investment
since the last TIFA Council meeting in May 2008.
The government representatives discussed common areas
of interest which the two countries can work together to further expand
bilateral trade and cooperation. The representatives discussed the
status of the ongoing WTO/Doha negotiations, Sri Lanka's use of the U.S.
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, and U.S. trade capacity
building assistance to Sri Lanka. The TIFA Council also discussed issues
affecting U.S. exports including: Sri Lanka's agricultural biotechnology
policies; high import tariffs; intellectual property rights protection;
and transparency in government procurement.
On July 2, 2002, the United States and Sri Lanka
signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to provide a
forum for both countries to examine ways to expand bilateral trade and
investment. The TIFA Council facilitates an ongoing dialogue to help
increase commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and
working to remove impediments to trade and investment flows between the
United States and Sri Lanka.
Total two-way trade between Sri Lanka and the United
States totaled $2.3 billion in 2008, with U.S. imports of $2 billion and
U.S. exports of $283 million. The leading U.S. exports to Sri Lanka were
aircraft, cereals, industrial machinery, electrical machinery and
plastics. U.S. imports from Sri Lanka are primarily apparel, rubber,
precious stones and industrial machinery. In 2008, U.S. imports from Sir
Lanka qualifying for GSP preferences were valued at $153 million.