- Press Releases
1st Meeting of ROK-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission Takes Place
1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the 1st meeting of the Republic of Korea-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission with Sri Lanka, the ROK government’s cooperation partner for the New Southern Policy, in Colombo on June 28.
o The ROK and Sri Lankan delegations were led by Director-General for Bilateral Economic Affairs Kim Hee-sang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Additional Secretary Sirikumara Gunasinghe of the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, respectively.
※ Participating agencies: (ROK side) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (Sri Lankan side) Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, and Ministry of Highways & Road Development
2. The meeting was held under the agreement on economic cooperation concluded during President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena’s state visit to the ROK last year, which marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The meeting served as an opportunity to enhance trade relations between the two countries, which have remained at about US$400 million over the past five years, and to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation, thereby laying an institutional foundation for pursuing the ROK government’s New Southern Policy more actively.
※ Trade volume between the ROK and Sri Lanka (million dollars): (‘13) 384 → (’14) 408 → (‘15) 362 → (’16) 365 → (‘17) 371
- (exports) textile, steel, petrochemicals, etc. / (imports) processed products, including clothing and rubber
3. The two sides reviewed the progress in implementing follow-up measures in the area of economic cooperation discussed at the summit last year, as well as the current state of economic cooperation between the two countries in a range of areas, including trade and investment, infrastructure, energy, maritime affairs and fisheries, and tourism, and discussed ways to further increase cooperation.
4. Director-General for Bilateral Economic Affairs Kim Hee-sang stressed that in order to increase Korean companies’ investments in Sri Lanka, it is especially important to resolve problems faced by Korean companies in the country, including outstanding balance, and asked for active cooperation from the Sri Lankan side. The Director-General also asked for support to help more Korean companies participate in infrastructure projects being pursued by Sri Lanka.
o Additional Secretary Gunasinghe asked for the ROK side’s interest and support regarding cooperation to expand trade and investment between the two countries, technical support in the parts industry, and cooperation in tourism.
5. As the entry into force of the revised Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) on July 1, 2018, is expected to significantly reduce trade barriers between the two countries, the two sides agreed to continue to further strengthen economic cooperation and exchanges between the governments and the private sectors of the two countries in order to use it as an opportunity to enhance bilateral trade.
※ Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA)
- oldest preferential trade agreement between developing countries in the Asia-Pacific (it took effect in 1976)
- six members: ROK, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Laos, and China
- The entry into force of the new arrangement reached during the fourth round of negotiations is expected to reduce the ROK’s tariffs by 33.4 percent, and Sri Lanka’s tariffs by 22.6 percent.
* unofficial translation