Sri Lanka business chamber touts virtues of Indian trade deal

Aug 07, 2008 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan business chamber has said the proposed new trade deal with India would give businesses an opportunity to penetrate the rapidly expanding Indian market and offer protection against trade barriers. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it welcomes the expansion of the current Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India to a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

This should take the path of a negotiated entry with a phased out programme of extending the coverage of the agreement from trade in goods to trade in services, it said in a statement.

Obvious sectors that stands to gain are tourism, information technology, maritime and aviation services such as passenger and cargo transport, logistics services, ship and aircraft maintenance and repair services.

The chamber noted that the national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines has “greatly benefited” by early entry into the Indian market.

The airline is the biggest foreign operator in India.

“The Ceylon Chamber believes that Sri Lanka must adjust and respond to significant global trends and practices that will benefit the country,” the Ceylon Chamber said.

“One such trend is the opportunity presented via the bilateral