COLOMBO: India and Sri Lanka have agreed to take steps to double their bilateraltrade to USD 10 billion in the next three years.
During the talks between Indian and Sri Lankan officials held on June 24-25 in Colombo, both the sides deliberated on ways to enhance trade and investments between the two countries.
"Recognising that India is Sri Lanka's leading trade partner and that bilateral trade between the two countries has now reached USD 5 billion, it was agreed that the potential which remains to expand bilateral trade further to the tune of USD 10 billion would be exploited in the next three years," a statement issued by the Sri Lankan government said today.
During the meeting, both the sides agreed that there is a huge potential to expand bilateral trade in a balanced manner through optimal utilisation of the opportunities available between the two countries, it said.
Sri Lanka's secretary to the Treasury, PB Jayasundera, said the talks covered entire gamut of economic, trade and development related issues between the countries.
"Review of several elements in the current bilateral trade in relation to the Indo-Lanka free trade agreement will be undertaken over the coming months," he said.
India has emerged as Sri Lanka's foremost development partner in public investment strategy through the provision of assistance and credit totalling USD 1.75 billion, Sri Lankan Treasury stated.
Indian projects include the construction of 50,000 houses in the former conflict affected areas in the north and east and also in the central hill plantation areas.
India would also assist in expanding public transport network infrastructure.
Commerce Secretary S R Rao was also here for the meeting. India and Sri Lanka are discussing ways to widen the base of free trade agreement in goods by including services and investments.
India's major exports to Sri Lanka include automobiles, mineral fuel, pharmaceuticals and iron and steel, while imports include natural rubber, poultry feed, copper and paper and paper products.