SL to join RCEP, signs FTAs with ASEAN nations once debt restructuring completed

Flag of Sri Lanka.  (IANS Photo)

Flag of Sri Lanka. (IANS Photo)

Colombo, August 10 (IANS): Sri Lanka will join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and sign Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries after debt restructuring is complete, the President's Media Division (PMD) announced on Thursday.

The PMD said in a statement that President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took part in events to celebrate the ASEAN Day in Colombo, expressed his support for the bloc's vision for the Indo-Pacific region, reports Xinhua news agency.

Wickremesinghe said that Sri Lanka will work closely with the ASEAN nations in the coming years.

Sri Lanka has an FTA with Singapore and is holding discussions to sign one with Thailand next year, the President said.

Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka wants to become the first South Asian country to join RCEP, which is the largest trade bloc in history, following the completion of debt restructuring.

"We must join RCEP. There is no reason not to join it," he said.

Sri Lanka also plans to sign trade agreements with India and Bangladesh, he said.