The Commerce Minister of India will arrive in the country soon to hold talks on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament today.
He said the Government had already initiated negotiations on drafting the ETCA and similar deals would be struck with China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia to find markets for the country’s produce.
He was responding to a question by Joint Opposition MP Jayantha Samaraweera regarding the ETCA.
The Prime Minister said the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry had been authorised to deal with the subject on behalf of the Government. He said a committee appointed under this Ministry coordinated work with the Indian authorities.
He said the subject minister would sign it on behalf of the Government.
"We have a limited market in the country with only twenty million people. It is not enough. We have to find new markets elsewhere in the world. Without external markets, how can we sell our products,” he said.
Mr. Samaraweera, in a supplementary question, asked whether the Hanuman Bridge would be constructed linking the two countries.
The Prime Minister replied that he had not even considered it.
Yet, he said only those aspiring to make undue commissions would benefit if bridges were constructed in that manner. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)