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With SLSFTA, Singapore has opportunity to invest directly on healthcare sector in Sri Lanka under Mode 03 of international service trade. Sri Lanka healthcare hospital industry is one of the rapidly growing industries and is continuously faced by new issues and challenges. In order to understand the Industry & its competitiveness, in the context of changing economic and political priorities in Sri Lanka & World, Portor’s Five Forces Analysis tool is used. Basically, threats related to the hospital industry have been identified thereby.
The healthcare system in Singapore (Refer Annexure 04) is recognized as one of the best in the world with cutting- edge technology and latest evidence – based practices. If such a hospital form in Sri Lanka, there will be a massive development in healthcare sector in terms of patient care, technology, surgical treatment etc. Further it will be supported for rapid growth in healthcare sector with more opportunities & to promote the healthcare industry internationally with a good image.
Medical Tourism is one of the focus in the National Export Strategy & sector for 2018-2022 published by Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). There is a good opportunity to promote medical tourism with growing interest & demand for wellness services in the world. There are several strong competitors such as India, Malaysia and Thailand as well as Republic of Korea and Dubai setting the benchmark for medical tourism. The key competitive factors are prices, access, facilities and reputation of both the hospital and the specialist. These are considered generic qualities and success mainly depends on how much the destination and its investors are ready to invest into medical infrastructure and human resources to be shared over the all hospital sector.
At present, more Singapore hospitals such as Mount Elizabeth Hospital attracts more patient from overseas including Sri Lanka. As per Daily FT newspaper (published on sturday 14th march 2013) parkway Pantai Assistant Centre sends over 15in-patients and 30 out-patients to the Singapore in every month for medical treatment.
Most innovative technology, managerial skill & knowledge are used by Singapore hospitals to maintain & improve their quality of service with the changing environment in healthcare industry over the world. The benefit of this FDI include the transfer of new technology, managerial skills and innovation to existing hospitals in Sri Lanka.
Currently, some of high- end laboratory tests are outsourced to overseas such as India since the tests cannot be performed with the limitation of resources in the country. There is an opportunity to conduct these tests locally, with the establishment of leading hospitals in Sri Lanka. There are some medical equipment and consumables which are currently imported from Singapore with import relevant taxes. The SLSFTA provides tax exemption and thereby, import cost of such items will be reduced. The objectives of this agreement are to liberalize and facilitate trade and invest between the parties in accordance with the provisions of this agreement. Therefore, this FTA will eliminate the price controls & tax involvement to existing hospitals.
Some threats from SLSFTA to existing Hospitals can be identifies if Singapore hospitals are formed in Sri Lanka. Singapore hospitals are leading hospitals in the world by their brand, innovation, technology skill. So there is a threat to existing companies to invest on these & to compete with these leading hospitals. There are some patients who come from high income levels may shift to Singapore hospitals established in Sri Lanka thereby, the market share of existing hospitals will be dropped.
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