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4th round of negotiations on SL – Thailand FTA ends today



The fourth round of negotiations on the proposed Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (SLTFTA) was held in Colombo from 27 to 29 March 2023. 

This initiative aligns with the President’s vision of enhancing economic relations with large and emerging economies, with a particular focus on ASEAN countries.

On March 26, a 35-member Thai delegation led by Ms. Auramon Supathaweethum, Director General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, arrived in Sri Lanka for the fourth round of talks. Along with their focus on trade negotiations, the delegation also strengthened the long-standing religious and cultural ties between the two countries by offering over 500 alms-bowls to the Gangarama temple on the same day.

The National Trade Negotiations team representing Sri Lanka at the talks was led by Mr. K. J. Weerasinghe, the Chief Negotiator of the Presidential Secretariat. The team comprised officials from various departments, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Food Security, Ministry of Industry, Department of Trade and Investment Policy, Attorney General’s Department, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Board of Investment of Sri Lanka. They participated in the negotiations on behalf of Sri Lanka.

During the third round of negotiations in January, discussions on the proposed Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement focused on areas such as trade in goods, trade in services, investment, rules of origin, customs cooperation, trade facilitation, and economic cooperation. The fourth round of talks will build on the principles already agreed upon, and delve deeper into these areas. Additionally, discussions will be held on trade remedies, technical barriers to trade (TBT), and legal matters.

Prior to the fourth round of negotiations, the National Trade Negotiations Committee and relevant sub-committees engaged in discussions with various industry sectors and stakeholders. The points raised during these discussions were taken into consideration and used appropriately during the fourth round of talks.

The Sri Lankan negotiating team’s goals for the talks focussed not only to increase Sri Lankan exports’ access to the Thai market, but also to improve market access to other ASEAN countries through the Thai market, and to reduce existing non-tariff barriers. The Sri Lankan Government hopes to sign the agreement in the first quarter of 2024. 


List of professionals whose IRD registration is compulsory




A gazette notice has been issued making it compulsory for those engaged in several fields such as medical, engineering, law, accounting and banking to register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) from today (01).

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued this gazette as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies.  

According to the relevant gazette, the people who are required to register with the IRD are listed below.

1. Practitioners registered with the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC)

2. Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka

3. Members of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka

4. Members of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka

5. Members of the Association of Professional Bankers

6. Members of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects

7. Members of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors Sri Lanka

8. Attorneys-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka

9. Individuals who have registered their businesses in Divisional Secretariats

10. Individuals who are in possession of vehicles registered (other than three-wheelers, motorcycles and hand tractors) in Motor Traffic Department

11. Individuals who have purchased or acquired, by virtue of Deeds Transfer, of any immovable property in Sri Lanka

12. Employees whose monthly contribution from both employee and employer to any Provident Fund is more than Rs. 20,000

13. Any individual who obtains approval for a building plan from a Local Authority

14. Any other individual who receives payment of Rs. 100,000 per month or Rs. 1,200,000 for a 12-month period for providing any services in Sri Lanka

In addition, all persons who have completed the age of 18 on 31 December 2023, or who will turn 18 on or after 01 January 2024, will also be subject to this new provision.

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Upcountry train services disrupted




Train services along the upcountry railway line were disrupted due to a rock slip on the railway line between Haliela and Uduwara Railway Stations this morning (01), the Railways Department said.

Passengers said that while the Udarata Menike train was travelling from Badulla to Colombo at 5.45 this morning, the driver saw the collapsed earth mound and immediately stopped the train preventing a major accident.

The Railways Department said that the restoration of the railway line is currently being done.

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Annamale complains to IGP against Kassapa Thera!




Social activist Kandasamy Annamale Sujith Priyantha alias Sujith Annamale has lodged a complaint to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) yesterday (31) saying that he and his family members have received death threats due to a statement made by Balangoda Kassapa Thera.

The complaint made by Annamale said;

“In a press conference held today (31/05/2023), Balangoda Kassapa Thera said, “Who helped from within the Aragalaya? Sujith Annamale… Sujith Annamale is the one who helped. Therefore, the CID should arrest them as soon as possible and produce them in court. If not, all the Buddhist monks behind me will take it to the street. We will not allow the Buddhist culture of this country to be destroyed.”

Annamale said that due to this statement, the life and property of his family members could be at risk.

“Therefore, please look into it and conduct a proper investigation as soon as possible and ensure the safety of my life and my property,” he said.

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