Thailand and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka have signed the Thailand – Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during the visit of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Srettha Thavisin to Sri Lanka on 3-4 February 2024 as Guest of Honor to attend the Independence Day Celebration of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Signing the agreement on 3 February were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Phumtham Wechayachai and Minister of Trade, Commerce, and Food Security of Sri Lanka Kachchakaduge Nalin Ruwanjeewa Fernando. Prime Minister Srettha and Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, witnessed the signing ceremony.
The Thailand – Sri Lanka FTA is Thailand’s 15th FTA and the first FTA signed under the current Thai administration. Both Thailand and Sri Lanka believe that the agreement will increase trade and investment and provide more business opportunities between the two countries.
On this occasion, they also signed another two documents; one on a new air services agreement between Thailand and Sri Lanka, and the other on a memorandum of understanding between the Gems and Jewelry Research and Training Institute of Sri Lanka and the Gems and Jewelry Institute of Thailand.
In their bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Srettha and the President of Sri Lanka encouraged the private sectors of the two countries to explore the potential of bilateral trade and investment. The Prime Minister said that, with its “Landbridge” project, Thailand aims to become a logistics hub in Southeast Asia. In this regard, Thailand and Sri Lanka could cooperate in promoting connectivity and infrastructure development through this project, linking with the Sri Lanka’s port of Colombo.
He said that Thai Airways International would resume its daily flights between Bangkok and Colombo, starting from 31 March 2024, which would help boost tourism between the two countries. Moreover, Thailand also proposed cooperation on marine tourism between Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India, as well as cultural tourism, especially tourism based on the common faith of Buddhism.
Prime Minister Srettha also delivered remarks at the event “Thailand - Sri Lanka Business Networking” on 3 February at the Kingsbury Hotel to further promote trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.