Proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India, the pact, which would be an improvement over the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA), may soon be a reality.
Indicating this, Y.K. Sinha, India’s High Commissioner, used the 70th Independence Day as the occasion to tell critics and skeptics of the ETCA that “it is up to Sri Lankans themselves to decide on the contours of any agreement that they sign with a foreign country.” However, there had to be “genuine debate and discussion” among stakeholders in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Sinha, who hoisted the tricolour flag at his residence here on Monday morning, referred to the latest round of discussion on the pact in Colombo last week and expressed the hope that the agreement, when signed, would be of mutual benefit to both countries “which will be win-win situation for all.”
On the bilateral trade, the High Commissioner said it was $4.6 billion last year, of which Indian exports were valued at about $ four billion and Sri Lankan exports — $645 million. Nearly 60 per cent of Sri Lankan exports were making use of the FTA whereas 90 per cent Indian exports did not use the channel. “It is obvious who has benefitted more from the FTA,” he argued.
Mr. Sinha added that as per latest estimates, the economic growth rate of India was expected to touch eight per cent during the current financial year. (The Hindu)