XINHUA | 2011-10-4
Sri Lanka to further delay trade agreement with India
COLOMBO, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka is expected to delay the decision to sign a comprehensive trade agreement with India that would encourage bilateral trade, a top government official said on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Dr. P.B. Jayasundara told a gathering of exporters that India has agreed to let Sri Lanka " take its own pace" regarding the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) when Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a recent meeting in New Delhi.
The CEPA was originally expected to be signed in 2008 but due to local industry protests Sri Lanka has dragged its feet.
The first Free Trade Agreement in South Asia was signed between Sri Lanka and India in 1998 and contributed to trade between the two countries growing tenfold in the past decade.
The CEPA is expected to broaden trade between the two nations but Sri Lankan businesses are worried that Indian competition will wipe out their companies.
"We need to have more discussions with local companies on this, " conceded Dr. Jayasundara adding that the entire document would be revealed to the public before it is signed by Sri Lanka.