After taking into consideration the views expressed by various parties over the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed eight month ago, President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday appointed a committee of experts to study and submit a report on it.
The five-member committee is headed by University of Colombo former Vice Chancellor and Emeritus Professor of EconomicsProf. W. D. Lakshman, while the other members include Open University Emeritus Professor of Economics Sirimevan Colombage, University of KelaniyaEmeritus Professor of Economics Ajitha Tennakoon, independent consultant Dr. Sanath Jayanetti, and Central Bank former Assistant Governor R.A. Jayatissa. In addition to studying the FTA, the committee is expected to make recommendations regarding the practical impact and uses of the new proposed trade policy and offer guidance on formulating Sri Lanka’s future trade policies, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said. The committee’s scope includes studying how the Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA could impact institutions providing various services in Sri Lanka, its potential impact on the country’s social and economic situation and the people’s standard of living.
The committee is expected to submit its report within two months, though the President will check on the progress of its work from time to time through interim reports. Any interested party is welcome to make submissions before this committee, the PMD added.
Global trade losing momentum in third quarter, WTO indicator shows
GENEVA (Reuters): Lower export orders and car sales are likely to slow world trade growth in the third quarter, the WTO said, as a global tariff crusade by US President Donald Trump to protect American jobs begins to bite.
As the World Trade Organization’s head warned that global trade was threatened, its quarterly outlook indicator – acomposite of seven forward-looking indices – dippedto 100.3 from the 101.8 predicted in May for the second quarter.
That signalled “an easing of trade growth in the coming months in line with medium-term trends,” it said last week.
The latest figures for export orders and cars were 97.2 and 98.1 respectively. Trump has already imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from major US trade partners and signalled that vehicles are likely to be next.
To try to persuade China to change its economic model and reduce the US trade deficit, Washington last week proposed a higher 25% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, Beijing proposed retaliating with tariffs on $60 billion of US goods.
“Global trade is under threat. Whether or not you call the current situation a trade war, certainly the first shots have been fired,” WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo wrote in an opinion piece published by several newspapers on Thursday.
“The situation is extremely serious. Reciprocal trade restrictions cannot be the new normal. A continued escalation would risk a major economic impact... hitting the poorest hardest.”