India-Sri Lanka Bilateral Free Trade Agreement: Six Years Performance and Beyond

Saman Kelegama, Indra Nath Mukherji
JEL codes: 
RIS-DP # 119

India-Sri Lanka Bilateral Free Trade Agreement signed in1998 was a pioneering attempt in the direction of trade liberalization in South Asian region. This paper examines the performance of the Agreement in the first six years of its coming into being and draws lessons from its success that could be relevant in the context of SAFTA and other such initiatives. Section 1 of the paper gives an overview of the history of Indo-Lanka trade links and the birth of the Indo-SriLanka Bilateral Trade Agreement. It also talks about the conceptualization of the ILBFTA. Section 2 highlights the positive outcomes of the ILBFTA. Section 3 highlights the negative outcomes and problematic areas that have caught the attention of the trade negotiators. Section 4 describes the steps taken and progress made in moving the FTA towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Section 5 discusses about lessons from six years of success.