India to help Sri Lanka set up SEZs

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma (C), flanked by Sri Lankan Ministers Basil Rajapaksa (left) and Sarath Amunugama, at the inauguration of the India Show, in Colombo on Friday. Photo: R.K. Radhakrishnan India will help Sri Lanka establish a special economic zone to manufacture auto components in Trincomalee, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said here on Friday.

“I cannot talk about how much investment will happen in this,’’ he said, addressing a press conference.

The SEZ would promote exports to the production chains in India..

A Joint Task Force on the SEZ would be set up , he said, after inaugurating the India Show here. The task force would submit its report within 90 days, he added.

Pharma hub

The Minister also announced the setting up of a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in Sri Lanka. He said that within 30 days a pharma industry team from India would visit Sri Lanka to work out the details.

The Minister said that India and Sri Lanka would aim to double bilateral trade by 2015, which crossed the $5-billion mark this year.

The signing of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) would bring more investment and services into Sri Lanka. The Minister said that the two Commerce Secretaries would resume dialogue on CEPA, and resolve all related issues. He asserted that Sri Lanka would be given preferential access to the “big Indian market.”

Trade issues

Earlier, Mr. Sharma, and his Sri Lankan counterpart, Rishad Bathiudeen, held a round of informal discussions on outstanding trade issues. Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa also participated.

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