Sri Lanka India CEPA; professional services not included: economist

Oct 18, 2011 (LBO) – A stalled comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka does not include freeing of professional services, as had been claimed by its critics as a scare tactic, an economist said. “In CEPA professional liberalization is not there, I think this is a misconception,” Saman Kelegama from the Institute of Policy Studies told members of the Sri Lanka Association of Economists at its annual sessions.

“It is an utter lie that has been spread in order to discredit this agreement.”

He was responding to questions from the audience that professionals like doctors were ‘worked up’ over the proposed agreement.

“In the CEPA the status quo that prevails today – professionals coming in with the investment – is the policy,” Kelegama, an economist who has consistently fought for the trade freedoms of the people said.

“Say for example the ICICI Bank comes from India with 25 million US dollar investment,” he said.

“Then the appropriate regulatory body – in this case it would be the money and banking division of the central bank – would allow three professionals from India.”

A similar situation prevailed in the case of doctors, where they were allowed in along with invest