India and Sri Lanka have resumed talks for an economic and technology cooperation agreement (ETCA), after a gap of nearly five years, an official statement said.
The two countries had 11-rounds of talks from 2016 to 2018. Thereafter the negotiations were paused.
"India and Sri Lanka held the twelfth round negotiations on the ETCA in Colombo from October 30 to November 1," the commerce ministry said in a statement.
During this round, it said, both the sides engaged in discussions on various issues, including trade in goods, technical barriers to trade, sanitary (human and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) measures, trade in services, custom procedure, trade facilitation, rules of origin, trade remedies, and dispute settlement.
It added that the conclusion of the negotiations for the agreement is expected to open new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation for both countries.
"The ETCA will be a pivotal move to further enhance bilateral trade between the two countries," it added.
The ministry further said that issues such as the quota on apparel and pepper and the procurement of pharmaceuticals were also discussed and both sides decided to continue the discussion and explore new options for resolution of the matter.
The Sri Lankan delegation was led by K J Weerasinghe, Chief Negotiator, and the Indian delegation by Anant Swarup, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce.
The two countries already have a free trade agreement, which was implemented in 2000.
India has traditionally been among one of the Sri Lanka's largest trade partners and Sri Lanka remains among the largest trade partners of India in the South Asia region.
India's exports to that nation stood at USD 5.11 billion in 2022-23 as against USD 5.8 billion in 2021-22. Imports from Sri Lanka aggregated at USD 1.07 billion in the last fiscal as against USD one billion in 2021-22.
A number of leading companies from India has invested and established presence in Sri Lanka. The main investments from India are in the areas of petroleum retail, tourism and hotel, manufacturing, real estate, telecommunication, banking and financial services.