International trade is regulated by unilateral barriers such as tariffs, non tariff barriers and outright prohibitions. The economic gains from international trade could be reinforced and enhanced when many countries or regions agree to a mutual reduction in trade barriers. Sri Lanka is a signatory for many bilateral & multilateral trade agreements, beneficial in enhancing commercial relationships and facilitation of trade & investment by reducing/eliminating tariffs, import quotas, export restrictions and other trade barriers. Trade agreements often include investment guarantees and can also help to minimize trade deficits.
Sri Lanka has been actively undertaking trade reforms in keeping up with the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). As a result Sri Lanka is a signatory to many bilateral & multilateral trade agreements which facilitates trade and investment by reducing and/or eliminating tariffs, import quotas, export restrictions and other trade barriers and through which enhance the commercial relationships between the countries involved.
The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), previously known as the Bangkok Agreement and renamed 2 November 2005,was signed in 1975. It is the oldest preferential trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Six Participating States- Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka are the parties to the APTA.Read More
The Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP) is a preferential trade agreement signed on 13 April 1988 with the aim of increasing trade between developing countries in the framework of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.Its entry into force was on 19 April 1989 and its notification to the WTO on 25 September 1989.Read More
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.Read More
Pakistan - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) came into force on 12th June 2005. A substantial improvement in trade has been recorded since the Agreement came into force. Pakistan implemented its final phasing out commitment in March 2009 and Sri Lanka has now duty free market access for more than 4500 products. Sri Lanka has also completed all her phasing out commitments in November 2010.Read More
The member countries of SAARC recognized the need to progress beyond a preferential trading arrangement and move towards a higher level of trade and economic cooperation in the region. As a result, the SAARC Council of Ministers signed a framework Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in January 2004 in Islamabad. The SAFTA entered into force on 1st January, 2006.Read More
The Agreement on SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) which envisages the creation of a Preferential Trading Area among the seven member states of the SAARC, namely Bangladesh, Butan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was signed in Dhaka in April 1993. The idea of liberalizing trade among SAARC countries was first mooted by Sri Lanka at the sixth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) held in Colombo in December 1991. It was agreed that SAPTA is a stepping stone to higher levels of trade liberalization and economic co-operation among the SAARC member countries.Read More