Yesterday, senior U.S. and Sri Lankan officials met at the Office of the United States Trade Representative for the ninth meeting of the United States-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council. The TIFA was signed in 2002, and is now the primary forum for bilateral trade and investment discussions between the two countries. The TIFA process has been the focal point of a sustained and multi-faceted high-level engagement between the United States and Sri Lanka on trade and investment issues, including impediments to greater trade and investment flows between the countries.
The parties discussed a full range of investment climate issues, including market access, the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), trade promotion efforts, intellectual property rights, and sector-specific challenges to investment. Discussion also included the importance of considering gender issues in setting trade and investment policy, and in expanding technical cooperation between the two countries. Exporting more machinery, optic and medical instruments, plastic, cereal, and wheat could result in more jobs for businesses, farmers, and workers here at home.
Both countries recognize the need for increased private sector involvement in issues discussed under the TIFA and they announced plans to continue to hold private sector events in conjunction with future TIFA council meetings. Representatives of the private sector will be briefed by officials from the Government of Sri Lanka on investment opportunities in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, November 16. Private sector representatives will have the opportunity to meet with officials from both the United States and Sri Lanka to discuss trade and investment issues.
Both countries expressed their desire to hold the next TIFA Council meeting in late March 2012 to coincide with the Sri Lanka Expo to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.