The Second Meeting of the Joint Council established under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) will be held in Washington D.C. on March 25th, 2003. This agreement signed during Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to the White House in July, 2002, provides a framework to discuss bi-lateral and multi-lateral issues relating to Sri Lanka and the US.

The Sri Lanka delegation for the talks will be co-chaired by Prof. G.L.Peiris, Minister of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy, Investment Promotion & Constitutional Affairs and Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, while Ambassador Jon Hunstman, US Deputy Trade Representative will lead the US delegation. Business leaders representing the apparel, information and communication technology sectors will accompany the delegation.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S. Devinda R. Subasinghe has said, “the forthcoming meeting will review the progress made in the recently concluded 6th session of the Sri Lanka Peace Talks, as well as the status of trade and investment relations between Sri Lanka and the US and explore proposals for increased trade and foreign investment.” The meeting will also discuss “modalities to ensure a successful outcome of the WTO’s ‘Doha Development Agenda’.”

Attending the first meeting of the Joint Council in Colombo in November 2002, US Deputy Trade Representative, Jon M. Huntsman had noted that the TIFA arrangement is the cornerstone in the trade and economic relations between the two countries and that the US had signed such agreements with select countries and the choice of Sri Lanka from the South Asian region for a TIFA, shows the significance the US attached to Sri Lanka as a business partner. Trade between the two countries currently stands at approximately 2.5 billion dollars and heavily favors Sri Lanka. Apparel accounts for more than three quarters of Sri Lanka's exports to the US while imports from the US includes wheat, electrical machinery and mechanical machinery. US Investment in Sri Lanka is approximately $500 million.

During their visit the two Ministers will meet with US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca. At the US Chamber of Commerce, they will also participate in an Investment Roundtable titled “ Sri Lanka; The Gateway to South Asia” and also meet with Trade Association leaders.

Minister Peiris who will be arriving in Washington D.C., after having led the Sri Lanka Government delegation to the 6th session of the Sri Lanka Peace Talks with the LTTE in Hakone, Japan, will also address diplomats, US government officials, World Bank and IMF representatives, congressional staffers, academics and NGO representatives, at an event hosted by the US Institute of Peace (USIP) and Chaired by Dr. Chester Crocker, Chairman of the USIP Board.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

21 March 2003


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