Colombo, Sri Lanka – The 13th U.S.-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Joint Council Meeting was held on June 19 & 20, 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The meeting was inaugurated by Hon. Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies & International Trade, and Assistant United States Trade Representative (AUSTR), Mr. Christopher Wilson. At the outset, AUSTR Wilson extended his condolences to Minister Samarawickrama and the Government of Sri Lanka for the Easter Sunday terror attacks and emphasized that the United States is committed to further developing a fair and reciprocal U.S.-Sri Lanka trade and economic relationship.
The U.S. Delegation expressed its deep appreciation for the hospitality extended by the Government of Sri Lanka during its stay in Colombo, while the Sri Lankan Government was pleased to host this round of talks. The two sides had productive engagement on a number of areas such as market access and reforming of Sri Lanka’s trade and investment regime, including its compliance with the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation and strengthening of intellectual property rights and effective enforcement, encouraging development and innovation in the digital economy, government procurement, and trade capacity building with an emphasis on the economic empowerment of women. In a showing of the comprehensive and fruitful nature of the meetings, the delegations also made progress in discussions on certain labor and environmental concerns.
At the conclusion of the Joint Council Meeting, both delegations assessed the results of their engagement as a significant step forward in increasing bilateral trade and investment opportunities between the United States and Sri Lanka. It was noted that the TIFA, which has continued over 13 years as a broad platform for discussion and resolution of bilateral economic issues, remained to be further developed in order to achieve the fuller potential of bilateral trade and investment relations.
Both governments pledged their commitment to continue productive engagement in the future.