Discussions on a wide variety of bilateral issues continued during the 8th meeting of the Joint Council under the United States-Sri Lanka Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which was held on 14th October 2010 in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan delegation was led Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the US delegation was led by the Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia.
In the context of the TIFA, Sri Lanka primarily aims at (a) securing enhanced market access for its exports, in particular apparel, through either any special trade preferences or the US GSP facility with additional flexibilities with regard to product coverage and rules of origin etc. and (b) pursuing US cooperation in areas, such as intellectual property rights, trade facilitation, trade capacity building in developing cost effective & innovative packaging for agro exports, branding of Ceylon Cinnamon, assistance for energy management for export oriented coconut based industries, know-how on food and drug administration labeling requirements, registering of Ceylon Tea and other regional tea in USA under Geographical Indications of TRIPS Agreement and to build capacity of lawyers, administrators in the area of commercial dispute resolution.
The TIFA is a useful institutional arrangement for promoting closer trade and economical co-operation between the two countries. It provides regular high level contacts among the trade officials where one could identify and address any barriers, which hamper trade between the two countries.