South Africa, Sri Lanka reach landmark with successful 5th Partnership Forum (Daily Financial Times (Sri Lanka))

Accomplishing yet another landmark in the relations between Sri Lanka and South Africa, the fifth round of the Sri LankaSouth Africa Partnership Forum was convened yesterday in Colombo.
The Session was cochaired by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara and Republic of South Africa Department of International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Director General Ambassador Dr. Anil Sooklal.
The Partnership Forum discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere. The Forum comprehensively reviewed the gamut of bilateral relations, including trade, investment, science and technology, transport, tourism, agriculture, education, mutual legal assistance, cooperation between police services, defence cooperation, wildlife, cooperation between Zoological Gardens and peopletopeople contact.
Having expressed satisfaction on the significant progress made since the fourth Session in Pretoria, South Africa, in May 2013, the Partnership Forum reiterated its resolve to further intensify cooperation and take steps to achieve concrete results in the areas identified.
Recognising the need to build a special trade and economic partnership framework to achieve shared goals, the two sides agreed to conduct a joint study for trade complementarities. Both sides highlighted the importance of private sector involvement to further deepen and strengthen economic and trade linkages between the two countries.
Both sides identified agro processing, steel and copper related products, aqua culture, apparel and textiles, IT and ITenabled services and software development, ship repair and ship and boat building industry, manufacture of automobile and spare parts as priority sectors for potential economic cooperation between the two countries.
The two countries initialled the following instruments: Declaration of Intent in the Field of Sustainable Tourism Development and Memorandum of Understanding between the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and the Department of National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka.
The Heads of Delegations briefed the Forum on developments in the South Asian region, including South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the South African Development Community (SADC). Additionally, a briefing on Sri Lanka’s role as ChairinOffice and recent developments in the Commonwealth process was provided.
The two sides shared views on the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORA) in which the two countries are partners, with a view to support initiatives for enhancing cooperation on six priority areas; maritime safety and security; trade and investment facilitation; fisheries management; disaster risk management; academic and science and technology cooperation; and tourism and cultural exchanges.
It was agreed to convene the sixth round of the Sri LankaSouth Africa Partnership Forum in South Africa in early 2017 on mutuallyconvenient dates.