Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsiang Loong said that his government would take steps to expand economic, trade and investment cooperation between Sri Lanka and Singapore.
The Singaporean Prime Minister on a tour to Sri Lanka said this during his meeting with the President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (23) at the Presidential Secretariat.
The Prime Minister and the first lady were given a warm welcome by President Maithripala Sirisena and first lady Jayanthi Sirisena when they arrived at the Presidential Secretariat. The welcome included a guard of honor.
Bilateral discussions were held after a cordial meeting between the two leaders.
Both leaders discussed the plans to expand economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
A free trade agreement was signed in the presence of the two leaders. It was signed by Minister of Development Strategy and International Trade Malik Samarawickarama and Trade and Industries Minister of Singapore, S. Eeshwaran.
The Prime Minister of Singapore stated that the agreement signed between the two countries would bring benefits to both the countries in trade and investment sectors creating new opportunities within these fields.
Prime Minister said that it is expected to expand the assistance given by Singapore in order to develop vocational training, provide new job opportunities to Sri Lankans, and infrastructure development.
It was also stated that the opportunities of investments given for small and medium scale would be expanded on a request made by the President. Singapore Prime minister said his government would encourage the investors to increase investments in small and medium scale industries in Sri Lanka.
There is big opportunity to strengthen such ties between Singapore and Sri lanka, as the two nations have equal financial stability, stated the Prime Minister.
Both leaders discussed cooperation in the fields such a s health, tourism, internet based trade and commerce, power and energy and infrastructure. They agreed that the development plans should be made to uplift the economical cooperation between the countries
The President who appreciated the assistance from Singapore in order to train the Sri Lankan public servants, appealed to the Singaporean Prime Minister to provide technical assistance for the development of Sri Lankan institutions. The Singaporean Prime Minister assured that his special attention would be paid on this matter.
The Premier also agreed to look into the Presidents request to increase opportunities in the vocational training sector and to assist for reforms in the education sector, specifically in the human resources sector.
There are lot Sri Lankans engaging in diverse sectors in Singapore and that they are happily employed, said the President admitting that the workers from Sri Lanka should be exposed to new professions and asked the Prime Minister to expand opportunities for Sri Lankan workers.
The president showed the necessity of a collective efforts as two island nations to eliminate drug smuggling.
Sri Lanka and Singapore closely cooperate in international forums and Sri Lanka closely collaborate with the ASEAN organization. Sri Lanka expects to be a dialogue partner of ASEAN and the President asked the Prime Minister to support Sri Lankas application to be a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.
The President briefed the Premier about the steps taken after becoming the President in 2015 to win the Yahapalana challenges and the different programmes launched to attain reconciliation and economic development.
The President explained the steps taken to secure the freedom and democracy of the country and admitted how the executive powers of the President were vested with the parliament through the 19 th amendment to the Constitution.
The President thanked the prime minister for the tour he undertook to Sri Lanka and admitted that this tour will help to make ties between the two countries stronger and cooperation would increase in different fields eventually.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesighe, and ministers John Amaratunge, Thilak Marapana, Thalatha Athukorala, Sagala Rathnayake, Mahinda Amaraweera, Chandima Weerakkody, Malik Samarawickarama, Ranjith Maddumabandara, Duminda Dissanayake, and the Singaporean foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Trade and Commerce, S. Isawaran and Singaporean High Commissioner for Sri Lanka S. Chandra Das and parliament members Liang En Hwa, Sktiandi Bin Supaat were at this bilateral meeting.