MINISTER FERNANDOPULLE TO VISIT WASHINGTON
DC FOR HIGH-LEVEL TRADE TALKS
Trade Minister to meet US Business Community
at the US Chamber of Commerce
MOU to be signed for Exchange of Scholars,
Research & Extension Programme in the Area of Textile Technology
Hon. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Minister of Trade, Commerce and Consumer
Affairs, will be visiting Washington D.C. leading a delegation
of Senior Government Officials to attend the Fourth Joint Council
Meeting under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA),
which will be held on 26th October, 2004 in Washington D.C. The
Joint Council meeting will discuss important bilateral and multilateral
issues relating to Sri Lanka and the U.S. including, Sri Lanka’s
economic and investment polices, Intellectual Property Rights
Law, Millennium Challenge Account, WTO – Doha Development
Agenda, bilateral trade relations and proposed FTA between the
U.S. and Sri Lanka. The U.S. delegation to the TIFA Meeting will
be led by Ambassador Josette Shiner, Deputy USTR and will comprise
representatives of Department of Commerce, Department of State,
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)
The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement between the U.S.
and Sri Lanka, signed in July 2002, provides a cabinet level legal
and institutional framework for a permanent trade policy dialogue
to broaden and deepen bilateral trade and economic relations.
This is the fourth occasion the U.S.-Sri Lanka Joint Council meets
two years since the Agreement was signed. This is testimony to
the importance both countries attach to the deepening and broadening
of the bilateral trade and economic relationship.
Three Joint Council Meetings held so far, have resulted in resolving
bilateral commercial issues and building confidence between the
two countries. The last meeting was held in October 2003 in Colombo.
Both countries have agreed to use TIFA process as a vehicle to
engage in further trade policy dialogue between the two countries
with a view to expediting the bilateral trade agenda.
The October 26th meeting is the first Joint Council Meeting since
the new Government came into office in Sri Lanka in April 2004.
The date for the Fourth Joint Council Meeting was agreed at bilateral
discussions Minister Fernandopulle had with USTR Zoellick in Washington
D.C. in June 2004. The Hon. Minister will meet Ambassador Robert
B. Zoellick, USTR prior to the TIFA meeting to review a broad
range of bilateral and multilateral trade issues that will be
taken up at Joint Council Meeting and explore ways to strengthen
and expand bilateral trade ties.
Minister Fernandopulle will address US Corporate Executives at
a Luncheon Meeting on 26 October, 2004 at the US Chamber of Commerce
in Washington D.C. to present the emerging trade and investment
opportunities in Sri Lanka.
Arrangements have been made to sign a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) between Textile Training & Services Centre (TT&SC)
and Clothing Industry Training Institute (CITI) of Sri Lanka and
the North Carolina State University College of Textiles to exchange
scholars, faculty, research and extension programmes in the area
of textile technology. North Carolina State University Textile
College is a leading academic and research institutions for textile
technology in the world. This is a follow up to the Sri Lanka
business promotion delegation’s visit to North Carolina
in September, 2004.
Minister Fernandopulle will meet with US exporters of poultry
products, wheat and wheat flour to explore the possibility of
importing these products with a view to ensuring stable supply
and competitive prices of these products to the Sri Lankan consumers.
Sri Lanka, which is a trade dependent country with its total
external trade accounting for 70 percent of the GDP, is seeking
expanded trade relations with the US. A study on the trade related
impacts of a Sri Lanka-U.S. FTA conducted by a Washington based
research institute, predicts that “the gains in economic
welfare to Sri Lanka would be particularly large (3.0 to 3.5 percent
of GDP per annum).”
The United States is the largest single export market for Sri
Lanka’s exports accounting for 38 per cent of total exports.
Over 90 US Companies have invested US$ 500 million in Sri Lanka.
The US which has worked closely with Sri Lanka to promote economic
growth has selected Sri Lanka as a beneficiary country to receive
assistance under the Millennium Challenge Account, a $ 3 billion
fund of development assistance. The US as a Co-Chair of the Tokyo
Donor Conference has strongly supported ongoing Peace Process
in Sri Lanka.
The Hon. Minister of Trade, Commerce & Consumer Affairs will
be accompanied by Dr. U. Vidanapathirana, Secretary, Ministry
of Industry, Tourism & Investment Promotion, Amb. K.J. Weerasinghe,
Director General of Commerce and Mr. Saliya Wickramasuriya, Chairman,
BOI during his visit to Washington DC. Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe,
Ambassador to the U.S. and Mr. Saman Udagedara, Minister (Commercial)
will join the delegation in Washington DC.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
22 October 2004