Sri Lanka business chamber says not against CEPA with India

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – The head of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka said they were not against the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with India but want to ensure both sides benefit. 

Ajith Wattuhewa, President of the FCCISL, said they wanted to rectify shortcomings in the existing free trade deal with India before going ahead with the CEPA.

“The FTA covers only goods but CEPA covers goods, services, investments and movement of people between the two countries,” he said.

CEPA covers the entire economy and therefore cannot be taken simply as a trade agreement, Wattuhewa told the third Indo Ceylon Economic Dialogue forum.

He said the deal must be reviewed “thoughtfully” by all stakeholders particularly when entering into a bilateral agreement with a country as large as India.

This was because such bilateral agreements cannot be changed without the consent of the other party and may end up in unsymmetrical benefits, he added.

“When we say this it does not mean that the FCCISL is opposed to CEPA,” Wattuhewa said.
“We are certainly for the free flow of goods and services between both countries. For that we need to rectify some issues related to the FTA as fast as possible.

“We certainly would like to promote deeper economic co-operation with India.”

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