President Ranil Wickremesinghe says that Sri Lanka is benefiting from the fact that free trade has made it easier for the international movement of goods and the flow of capital.
In an exclusive interview with Chinese state-run TV news channel CGTN, the Head of the State mentioned that it is beneficial for both Sri Lanka and Asia as it offers development opportunities.
“Indeed, if we could join the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), we would have access to the world’s largest market. We once hoped to establish the South Asian Free Trade Area, but it failed to materialize”, he said.
Furthermore, Wickremesinghe emphasized that joining the RCEP is feasible for Sri Lanka, because the island nation has close ties with RCEP members.
“Sri Lanka shares deep cultural ties with not only China but also Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia”, the President said, adding that “to further expand cooperation with China, Japan, South Korea and Australia, we need to strengthen our economic competitiveness”.
“We are willing to work towards this end, because joining the RCEP would mean competing in the global market as China did.”
“We hope to explore markets and attract investment in more regions”, Wickremesinghe added.
Meanwhile, the President, who expressed that in fact, Sri Lanka’s trade policies have been established gradually over the past 20 to 25 years whereby the country has removed many barriers to trade with other countries, highlighted that the island nation is benefiting from the fact that free trade has made it easier for the international movement of goods and the flow of capital.
“It’s beneficial for both Sri Lanka and Asia as it offers development opportunities.”
Speaking further, President Wickremesinghe stated that “if anyone wants to end this model now, it should be done through consultation with all parties involved rather than being dictated by the West”.
“Even in the U.S. and Europe, there are voices against this.”
The President also pointed out Sri Lanka’ position is that the World Trade Organization (WTO) should make the decision, adding that if adjustments are made, they should be reached through joint consultation.
“It’s wrong to take unilateral actions”, Wickremesinghe said.