Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane said he told Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay that the new government would take its position on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreements (ETCA) with India only after the adoption of a national trade policy.
Minister Gunawardane told Daily Mirror that he briefed the Indian envoy of the government’s position, during a recent meeting with him.
He said he secured Cabinet approval last week for the appointment of a panel of experts to formulate the national trade policy.
“The government will negotiate bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA) subject to the national policy only,” he said.
The previous government launched negotiations with India on the ETCA. It also held 11 rounds of bilateral talks in Colombo and New Delhi. However, there was public protest against the signing of the ETCA at that time.
Minister Gunawardane said he sought to address concerns arising from the FTA with India, which is already in operation. (Kelum Bandara)