May 032013

Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Sri Lanka, Thailand to expand bilateral trade to US$ 1 billionFri, May 3, 2013, 06:53 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 03, Colombo: Under the framework of the Joint Commission Sri Lanka and Thailand are exploring the possibility of increasing trade volume up to the threshold of US$ 1 billion within the next 3-5 years.

Sri Lanka’s external Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris at the conclusion of the 3rd Sri Lanka-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting on Thursday (02) said the two countries have made a decision to accelerate the economic partnership as the increased volume of trade and inbound investment is paramount to uplift the livelihood of the people and to increase production within the country.

Welcoming the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand Surapong Tovichakchaikul to Sri Lanka, Minister Peiris said the Joint Commission meeting would provide a renewed interest to further the bilateral relations based on accruing opportunities for cooperation.

“Sri Lanka’s hosting of the current session signifies the renewed vigour with which we pursue our bilateral relations as they provide a unique platform to further consolidate and expand our traditional friendship with Thailand,” Minister Peiris said.

During the Joint Commission session, the two countries agreed to revitalize the sub-committee on trade in reaching the trade target of US$ 1 billion. Both sides supported an enhanced dialogue to promote private sector investments particularly in the SME sector, Prof. Peiris said.

According to the Minister, agriculture and fisheries sectors were explored in providing food security to the people in both countries while strengthening the village reawakening programs by both countries. The meeting also focused on ports and aviation for strengthening connectivity and for expansion of cooperation.

The Minister expressed appreciation for Thailand’s support to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, especially extending support at the UN Human Rights Council more recently.

Other fields of collaboration included the strengthening information and intelligence sharing in defence and security co-operation. Technical assistance and education cooperation were also considered vital in developing a knowledge based economy.

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