Daily Mirror | Monday, 31 May 2010
DNA wants a CEPA debate
By Kelum Bandara
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has decided to ask for a parliamentary debate on the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to be signed with India.
The DNA has renewed its objection to this agreement in the backdrop of the lapse of ten years for the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) signed with India.
Party’s General Secretary Vijitha Herath told Daily Mirror yesterday that the government should disclose the contests of this CEPA agreement to Parliament immediately.
“That is why we are going to move an adjournment motion in this regard. Sri Lanka has had more minuses than plusses in terms of the SAFTA. We fear whether the CEPA will put Sri Lanka at a disadvantageous position,” he said.
On August 4, 2008, the CEPA was debated in Parliament. At that time, the JVP, which is now an alliance partner of the DNA, opposed it. At that time, it was moved by National Freedom Front Leader Minister Wimal Weerawansa.
Meanwhile, the Indian authorities said that it was now up to the Sri Lankan authorities to decide whether to sign this agreement or not.
“It is now an internal matter. The Sri Lankan government should come to a decision as to whether it should be signed or not,” sources close to the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.
There is already an Indo-Lanka Free Trade Arrangement which had liberalized a range of traded goods but a broader deal called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) would also have opened trade in services. Reports said under the negotiated CEPA, Sri Lanka was supposed to liberalize 32 new products while India would open 114 items. In services India would open around ‘80 sub-sectors’ while Sri Lanka is expected to gradually open about 20 sub-sectors.