Indian Express | 2 October 2004
Indo-Lanka economic partnership soon
CHENNAI, OCTOBER 1: India and Sri Lanka are on the threshold of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), Sri Lankan Minister of Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said Friday.
With both countries already into the fourth year since a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into operation, the CEPA now being negotiated between India and Sri Lanka will address the ‘‘shortcomings’’ in the FTA, he said at a meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Business Council (JBC) in Chennai. The CEPA will ‘‘broaden and deepen’’ the scope and content of the current FTA, Jeyaraj said.
The new comprehensive pact would include liberalisation of trade in services and investment cooperation, and an ‘‘effective mechanism for trade facilitation’’, he said. The Sri Lankan Minister called for a ‘‘frank and honest assessment’’ of the impact of the FTA between India and Sri Lanka so far as ‘‘we cannot be complacent with the on-going trend in our economic relations by simply looking at statistics’’. Jeyaraj said, considering ‘‘we are now approaching the stage of the CEPA, it is very important that we work very closely with each other to resolve the current hurdles.”