Mighty Atom

Mar. 08 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is pushing for greater access into the Indian banking industry when both countries meet for bilateral trade talks in May, industry sources said. Neighboring India recently streamlined capital requirements for banks entering into the country but there are still limitations on shareholder ownership and the number of branches that each bank can open.

“The capital requirement is now US$25 million irrespective if they are local or foreign. But there are still limits on foreign banks’ branch expansion. We are pushing for that to be lifted,” explained H N Thenuwara, Director Economic Research Central Bank.

At the moment India allows all the foreign banks to open only 15 branches in the country each year.

An Indian delegation is due in May for talks with their Sri Lankan counterparts on how to deepen the bilateral trade pact under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or CEPA.

Both sides were due to meet this later this month to discuss CEPA, but the meeting has been shelved till May.

“There are few nagging issues like exports of vansapathi oil to India that we are unable to iron out at the trade level. They have to b