Written by Lahiru Fernando
06 Mar, 2016 | 10:52 pm
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged the government to table the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) in parliament, before entering into the agreement with India.
Issuing a communique, the former president recommends that the Government should seek the views of trade chambers, professional associations and the general public on the matter.
Former President Rajapaksa proposed that Sri Lanka, which already provides a market of USD 4,000 million for Indian goods, must take a phased approach when entering into such an agreement with India.
Mahinda Rajapaksa reccomends that during the first phase, impediments to the implementation of the existing Free Trade Agreement with India which was signed in 1998, should be ironed out. The communique adds that the problem of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters which has now reached crisis proportions should also be resolved.
The former president goes on to note that after a few years of operating the FTA to the satisfaction of Sri Lankan stakeholders, then, the country can move on to the next phase and work out the specific details to broaden the relationship through an ETCA.
Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa says that trying to broaden the trade relationship with India, without resolving existing problems, will naturally give rise to public opposition.
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