Sunday Times, Sri Lanka
SL-China FTA to allow skilled workers here
17 May 2015
A storm is brewing over renewed negotiation of the proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw the ball in the Sri Lankan court saying India was interested in finalising this agreement.
However, at a recent discussion on CEPA and its future,Subashini Abeysinghe, an economist at research firm Verite Research, said that similar to the trade in services’ portions in the agreement, the proposed China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is also looking at similar provisions ; allowing professional/skilled services.
The main dispute over CEPA is that Sri Lanka is likely to get overwhelmed by Indian professionals and managers while Sri Lankans would find it difficult to enter those markets.
According to a memorandum prepared as a working document to start negotiations, the FTA is to cover trade of goods and services, investment and economic and technological cooperation.
Other economists say that Sri Lanka shouldn’t worry too much about allowing Chinese professional workers as that country is short of labour at the moment and is mostly in the hiring mode, than sending out professionals and managers.