July 16, 2012 (LBO) – While Sri Lanka was delaying the signing of an economic partnership deal, despite India being prepared to offer concessions, similar deals were being rapidly wrapped up with other countries and regions, India’s envoy to Colombo said. Sri Lanka and India worked out a draft agreement for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement as far back as 2008, but four years later nothing has happened.
“India will be prepared to give to concessions without expecting reciprocal benefits from Sri Lanka, because we are mindful of the asymmetries in the size of the two countries and the economies of the two countries,” high commissioner Ashok Kantha told member of the Indo Lanka Chamber of Commerce in Colombo.
“But we need to move ahead. We can take our own time waiting for respective domestic consensus. But by the time we have developed our consensus friends, the instrument will be meaningless.”
India’s high commissioner to Colombo Ashok K. Kantha said India had now signed similar deals with Korea, Malaysia, and was negotiating new deals with European countries.
“That puts you at a certain competitive disadvantage,” he said. “And trade is all a matter of relative competitive dis-advantage.”