Sri Lanka withdrew from East Terminal deal due to dispute over terms: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka withdrew from an agreement to jointly complete East Container Terminal in Colombo port with India and Japan due to a dispute over terms, Ports Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena told parliament.

He said through a cabinet paper a committee had been appointed for talks with the company named by India.
“We entered the discussion from a favourable position to us, then that company refused to go ahead with the ECT with the conditions we laid out to them,” he said.

“That’s why we withdrew ourselves from bringing in investors to ECT.”

“When the committee discussed, we never discuss with the investor to put our country at an unfavourable position.”

Colombo port’s planned West Terminal would instead be offered to investors, Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said.

Sri Lanka had earlier said the country pulled out of the deal amid opposition from union as selling assets to foreigners was not part of the current administration policy.

However Minister Udaya Gammanpila said bringing investors to the ECT was within the manifesto of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The move drew protests from India while Japan expressed regrets.

Meanwhile cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Tuesday that the Foreign Ministry has not yet officially conveyed to India and Japan that Sri Lanka is going to pull out of the ECT deal. (Colombo/Feb11/2021)





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