The 20th Session of the senior officials’ meeting (SoM) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 3 March 2020. The meeting was chaired by Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha. Highlights: In the meeting, it was decided that Sri Lanka will lead the science, technology, and innovation sector in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). It was also decided that a facility for technology transfer is planned to be opened in the future. Sri Lanka also appointed a Director to the BIMSTEC secretariat in June. The country is keen to cooperate with the member countries in the fields of trade, investment, technology, tourism, and connectivity, ahead of the summit. BIMSTEC Secretary General Shahidul Islam emphasized the importance of sectoral meetings for more comprehensive cooperation and called for the support of all member states on this front and negotiation on BIMSTEC free trade area (FTA). Sri Lanka had focused on the need for institutional building through the finalization of the BIMSTEC charter, and the allocation of defined areas of Sri Lanka has been scheduled to hand over the chairmanship to Thailand by the end of 2020. Sri Lanka is currently preparing for the 5th BIMSTEC Summit, which will be preceded by the 17th Ministerial Meeting and 21st Senior Officials Meeting by the end of 2020.
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