January 11, 2017 12:26 pm
A top official delegation led by Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen left Sri Lanka on last night to attend the latest Bangkok Agreement talks in Thailand.
The five member delegation will attend the fourth session of Asia Pacific Trade Agreement Ministerial Talks in Bangkok, the ministry said in a statement.
“It is time Sri Lanka starts benefiting from one of Asia’s pioneering trade agreements,” said Minister Bathiudeen prior to his departure to Bangkok.
The fourth session of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), also known as the Bangkok Agreement, is scheduled to be held on January 12 and 13 preceded by the 50th session of the APTA Standing Committee sessions of January 11 and 12.
The Sri Lankan delegation includes Director General of Commerce Sonali Wijeratne, other Commerce Officials and reps from the Department of Customs.
The January 13 Bangkok APTA session, Ministers are also expected to welcome a new member country –Mongolia- to the grouping; the current members being Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, South Korea, and Sri Lanka.
A Ministerial Declaration is expected to be adopted by the Ministers, as well as the date and venue of the fifth (5th) session of the APTA Ministerial Council will be decided by the Ministers.
Also, during the inaugural session, there will be web launching of the APTA tariff concessions (MoPs), non-tariff measures (NTMs) and Rules of Origin (RoO) database by the Ministers.
The Ministers are also invited to direct the future development of APTA concerning the launch of the new round of negotiations and the establishment of the APTA Chamber of Commerce and Industry network.
In a reported background of uncertainty over the proposed Trans Pacific Agreement (TPP), APTA is gaining increased importance, the statement added.
Bangkok’s 2017 APTA session is organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP).