July 18, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is not ready to sign a trade pact with India, senior officials said as protests mounted from domestic business interests and a partner of the ruling coalition. Local business interests that fear Indian competition also spoke out against the deal.
They said the government should first ensure that true reciprocity is available because in the past complex Indian rules had kept Sri Lankan businesses away from India while it was easy to enter Sri Lanka once agreement on opening was reached.
International trade secretary S Ranugge told our sister website Vimasuma.com that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was not yet ready to be signed as some of the items in the concession lists were yet to be finalized.
Separately, information minister Anura Yapa told reporters Friday that the cabinet of ministers had not yet made a final decision to sign the deal which would have seen the opening of some services in addition to trade in goods.
Authorities had earlier said that the CEPA deal would be signed when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Sri Lanka for the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operatio