Ceylon Today | 30 January 2018
MODE 4 not opened in FTA Singapore rejects SL request
By Niranjala Ariyawansha
The Singaporean Government has rejected a Sri Lankan Government request for the Movement of Natural Person (MODE 4) to be completely opened, Under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), signed 23 January.
The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, had rejected Sri Lanka’s request, since they were not willing to open MODE 4 with any country which signed a FTA with them. This was revealed by internal sources of the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade.
These sources said that Sri Lanka too had requested that MODE 4 be opened under a FTA only with Singapore.
A spokesman of the ministry told Ceylon Today that this request was made with the objective of providing a higher standard of living for professionals in Sri Lanka.
Within this FTA, under MODE 4, only free advisory services have been opened up and even that has been opened subject to Immigration and Emigration laws of Sri Lanka which are being currently amended.
However, professionals, who point out that there is an interconnection between Commercial Presence (MODE 3) in Sri Lanka and MODE 4 charge that since MODE 3 has been opened, MODE 4 is being spontaneously opened up in any case. Chartered Architect Nalaka Jayaweera, who explained the the situation on behalf of the professionals, said that there is no connection between MODE 3 and MODE 4 in Sri Lanka, it is only for the medical service in Sri Lanka.
Professionals have ceaselessly emphasized that there will be a severe impact on the job security of Sri Lankan professionals, if MODE 4 is opened up when an FTA is signed between Sri Lanka and another country. The reason is that the market in Sri Lanka will be opened up to professionals of other countries under MODE 4.
The ministry spokesman however, said that this FTA will be revealed to the people in about two weeks’ time following the required legal issues being completed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka.
He further said, that the FTA would be revealed to the media at a seminar to be held on 9 February at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.