The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), one of the pioneering chambers in the country, having a membership of over 630 corporates and over 1500 Small and Medium Enterprises has expressed its serious concern over the proposed signing of the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) with India.
According to the chamber, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between Sri Lanka and India which was operational from the year 2000 had only minimal benefits for Sri Lanka and has yet to be improved to a great extent.
They further said that although the FTA is a well accepted document, Sri Lanka signed it in a hurry and there are many non- tariff- barriers imposed in India, discouraging exports from Sri Lanka.
“The business community strongly believes that the FTA signed between Sri Lanka and India should be implemented in full to its maximum potential before entering into other agreements such as the CEPA.”
CEPA has been a cause for concern amongst various factions in civil society including business entrepreneurs, industrialists and economists.
“The National Chamber is of the view that before the authorities come to a conclusion, the CEPA agreement should be analysed in greater detail as regards the implications involved, advantages/disadvantages and most of all how it will affect the economy, business and industries in Sri Lanka.
Therefore, the National Chamber of Commerce strongly urges the authorities to make a careful study with the involvement of all business chambers in the country who represent the business community, before arriving at a final decision to sign the CEPA agreement.”