The Inter Agency Committee appointed to review the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, has been asked to expedite work on the matter, officials said today.
The CEPA which provides for more liberalised trade between Sri Lanka and India was to be signed initially in 2008. However, it was put on hold due to concerns by certain quarters including local businessmen and industrialists.
However, Trade and Commerce Ministry Secretary Tilak Kollure told the Daily Mirror toay that the government wanted to revisit the issue, and accordingly, his Minister Rishad Bathiudeen obtained Cabinet approval for the appointment of an Inter-Agency Committee to study the agreement in consultation with all the stakeholders.
“It was appointed mid last year. They are working on it at the moment. Both India and Sri Lanka have no deadline for the signing of the CEPA. However, the review process has been expedited,” he said.
Recently, Prof. Rohan Samarajeew, a leading economist, emphasised the need for Sri Lanka to improve its trade relations with India further, by signing the proposed agreement.
“If there is a growth in India, we will have to ride it. Otherwise, it will be disadvantageous to us,” he said.
The main opposition UNP also said that Sri Lanka should look at this matter positively. However, parties such as the JVP have expressed their reservations about such a trade pact with India. They argued that the influx of low cost Indian products would marginalise local producers. (Kelum Bandara)