Singapore and Sri Lanka to expand cooperation and bilateral ties
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
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
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
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
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.