Sri Lanka-India trade deal to open investment, services from August

July 11, 2008 (LBO) – The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to be signed between India and Sri Lanka in August will allow professionals to work in either country but with safeguards to meet local concerns, economists said. The CEPA deal will make it easier for Sri Lankan companies to invest in India in areas like tourism, telecommunications and information technology, they told a seminar on the trade deal.

Sri Lankan professionals like doctors need not fear the market being flooded by Indians as restrictions remain to safeguard locals.

The CEPA, which has taken several years to iron out is to be signed early next month during the south Asian heads of state summit in Colombo, going beyond an existing trade deal between the two neighbours and only covers trade, to services.

Economist Deshal de Mel of the Institute of Policy Studies said most details of the CEPA deal have been broadly agreed upon.

The agreement allows for flexibility and for each country to maintain restrictions on market access such as equity limits and volume of supply, as well as subsidies for local suppliers and licensing requirements.

It also embodies less than full reciprocity between the two countries given the asymmetries b