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Singapore, Sri Lanka keen to pursue bilateral free trade pact

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Singapore and Sri Lanka are both keen to pursue a bilateral free trade agreement, ministers from both countries have said on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE and Sri Lanka are both keen to pursue a bilateral free trade agreement, ministers from both countries have said on Wednesday.

The Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) is expected to comprise commitments in trade in goods, services, investment and government procurement, said Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry in a release on Wednesday.

"The SLSFTA will enhance economic flows by lowering barriers to entry and providing greater market access for both Singapore and Sri Lanka companies," said Minister for Industry S Iswaran at a business forum held in Colombo, capital of the South Asian island-country, on Wednesday.

In 2015, Sri Lanka was Singapore's 39th largest trading partner and bilateral trade amounted to S$2.05 billion. Exports to Sri Lanka totalled S$1.9 billion last year, while imports from Sri Lanka totalled S$146 million. Sri Lanka was Singapore's 29th largest export destination in 2015, said MTI.

Singapore's stock of direct investment in Sri Lanka amounted to S$656 million as of end-2014. Singapore's investments were mainly in the manufacturing sector. Investment from Sri Lanka amounted to S$203 million as of end-2014.

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Singapore currently has a network of 20 implemented free trade agreements with 31 trading partners, figures from International Enterprise Singapore website show.

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