WASHINGTON - Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Josette Sheeran
Shiner will travel to Sri Lanka on October 14-15 to explore ways to strengthen and expand
bilateral trade ties. Ambassador Shiner will discuss opportunities and challenges with Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe, Commerce Minister Ravi Karunanayake and members of the Sri Lankan private
"Sri Lanka has taken bold steps to end its ethnic conflict, to
open its economy, and to advance multilateral trade liberalization through the World Trade
Organization," Shiner said. "I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and Minister
Karunanayake and to hearing directly from Sri Lankans their views on how to expand and diversify trade
between Sri Lanka and the United States, boost economic growth and development, and forge a lasting peace
in their country."
Talks between Ambassador Shiner and senior Sri Lankan officials
will take place under the U.S.-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Among other
things, the TIFA establishes a special forum to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues.
The TIFA was signed in July 2002 on the occasion of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's visit to the
United States. Two previous TIFA meetings were held in Washington and Colombo.
Ambassador Shiner will also discuss with her Sri Lankan
counterparts their interest in a possible free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Sri Lanka.
During the TIFA session, the United States will discuss questions about existing U.S. FTAs, which have
set high standards for comprehensive agreements.
"We've enjoyed a productive TIFA with Sri Lanka and we've resolved
several issues. Sri Lanka has indicated its interest in deepening our trade relationship,"
Ambassador Shiner said. "One of the purposes of my visit is to listen and to learn from Sri Lankans about their
goals and expectations for trade and how it fits with their economic reform and growth plans."
The United States is Sri Lanka's largest single export market,
accounting for roughly 40 percent of the country's overseas sales. The United States has long worked
closely with Sri Lanka to promote economic growth, opportunity and development across the island
nation, and strongly supported Norway's efforts to facilitate peace talks in Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Ashley Wills, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative
for South Asia and former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, and Mr. David Spooner, the U.S. Special
Textile Negotiator, will accompany Ambassador Shiner during her visit.