Strengthening economic ties with South Asia

Sri Lanka to Strengthen Economic Ties with South Asian Regions

Sri Lanka is finalizing PTAs with Thailand and Indonesia to bolster economic ties with the South Asian region.

Sri Lanka is making significant progress in strengthening economic ties with South Asian region. The Ambassador to Indonesia, Jayanath Colombage, stated that Sri Lanka is finalizing Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with Thailand and Indonesia. He emphasized the strategic importance of these agreements during a recent meeting with journalists and dignitaries at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Jakarta.

Admiral Colombage highlighted that Sri Lanka has historically focused on markets in the USA and Europe, often neglecting the potential within the South Asian region. “We have now shifted our focus and are currently working diligently to finalize PTAs with Thailand and Indonesia,” he said, adding that this move is part of Sri Lanka’s broader strategy to integrate more deeply into regional economic frameworks and bolster trade partnerships.

“Indonesia, with its close ties to Sri Lanka, plays a pivotal role in this new economic strategy. It is crucial for a country like Sri Lanka, which is recovering from an economic crisis, to engage with a rapidly developing nation like Indonesia,” Colombage said.

Indonesia’s significant population of 240 million and its goal to become a developed country by 2045 present substantial opportunities for bilateral trade and investment, he said.

He made these remarks during a dinner hosted at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Jakarta. Ambassador Colombage reiterated the importance of learning from Indonesia’s business practices and investment strategies. The event was attended by officials from the Indonesian Embassy in Colombo and members of the Sri Lankan business community.

Beyond trade, Colombage said tourism is a key area for development. “A large number of tourists have visited Sri Lanka this year, and we are seeing an increasing number of tourists from Indonesia as well,” he added.

In line with these efforts, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Colombo has organized an official visit for popular Sri Lankan singer Umaria Sinhawansa and a group of journalists to Indonesia from June 19 to 27, 2024, aiming to promote Indonesian tourism among Sri Lankans.

During the visit, they will explore the development, historic values, and cultural activities in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Bali. This initiative is supported by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with other Indonesian government institutions, SriLankan Airlines, AirAsia, and Garuda Indonesia.

Prior to the departure, the Ambassador of Indonesia to Sri Lanka, Dewi Gustina Tobing, met with Umaria Sinhawansa and the accompanying journalists at the Bandaranaike International Airport on June 19, 2024, to mark the commencement of the visit.