04 February 2016 – The Philippines and Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 03 February, 2016 that is seen to forge greater cooperation and further enhance bilateral relations between the countries.

The Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Manila Aruni Ranaraja signed the MoU on Political Consultations which aspires to strengthen the friendly relations between the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

The MoU aims to establish and further facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation through consultations and exchange of opinions on bilateral and international issues of mutual interest to the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Secretary del Rosario said that the MoU was “an important step to further deepen the Philippines’ engagement with Sri Lanka.”

“Sri Lanka is a friend of the Philippines. The establishment of this key mechanism for regular discussion of and consultation on issues of importance to both countries is vital to strengthen our friendship and to ensure greater cooperation,” said Secretary Del Rosario.

Secretary Del Rosario likewise noted the timeliness of the signing, citing that the Philippines and Sri Lanka are “celebrating this year the 55thanniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.”

“There are opportunities for growth in our relations with Sri Lanka and we are positive that the holding of the inaugural political consultations will help identify areas of collaboration,” added Secretary Del Rosario.

Among the possible areas identified for greater cooperation are in agriculture, tourism, education, trade and investments as well as in migrant workers rights and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

In 2014, Sri Lanka ranked as the Philippines’ 54th trading partner. Bilateral trade grew by 40.3% from US$ 28 million in 2013 to US$ 40.4 million in 2014. END