July 05, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s construction industry has successfully lobbied the government to defer the liberalisation of construction and related services under a free trade deal with India, an official said. The industry is not wholly against the idea of liberalising services but wants to protect local players until they are ready to compete in a liberalised environment, Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya, Secretary General of the Chamber of Construction Industries (CCI), said.
“Liberalisation of construction services, including engineering and architectural services, will eventually happen with the globalisation of the economy,” he told LBO in an interview.
“But we say the domestic industry is not developed enough yet to compete with Indians.”
The industry argued its case in the technical level talks between India and Sri Lanka on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and managed to get the liberalisation of construction industry services deferred.
The CEPA is meant to go beyond an existing free trade agreement on goods and take liberalization into services.
Thalgodapitiya says the local industry is amenable to selective liberalisation.
“In areas we can’t find Sri Lanka