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Anand Sharma: India to launch SEZ in Sri Lanka

New Delhi, Aug 3 (): India is set to help launch a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to produce auto components in Trincomalee, said Anand Sharma, Indian Commerce Minister in Colombo on Friday.

“I am not sure of the required investment in this project. We have just decided,” he replied in response to a question. The SEZ is aimed at providing auto manufacturing hubs in Sri Lanka said the minister and added by saying India is eager to increase support in these and related sectors.

The Indian Joint Task Force (JTF) on the SEZ is likely to be proclaimed by Friday evening, following the inauguration of the Indian Show in Colombo on Friday. The JTF is expected to tender its report within a period of 90 days, said the minister.

The minister also announced the introduction of a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in Sri Lanka. A team from the apex body governing pharma issues in India will soon visit Sri Lanka in order to work out the details, said the minister.

With an intention to double up the bilateral trade by 2015, both the countries have decided to extend their support to each other, said Mr Sharma while saying that India-Sri Lanka trade crossed the USD 5 billion mark this year.

By signing the Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement (CEPA), it is certain to make the current economic engagement more comprehensive by bringing more investment and services into Sri Lanka.

Mr. Sharma said that both the Commerce Secretaries shall carry on with the dialogue on CEPA, and resolve all related issued. He declared Sri Lanka will be provided with privileged access to the “big Indian market.”

The trade between the two countries grew rapidly following the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into effect in March 2000. In between  2000-2008, the bilateral trade kept on increasing nearly  five-fold.

Sri Lanka is considered to be India’s largest trading partner from the SAARC region. The free trade agreement between the two nations had crossed USD 5 billion in 2011-12.

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