Sri Lanka to renegotiate trade deal with India

Feb 11, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to start talks again on a proposed trade agreement with India that had been opposed by protectionist interests in the island, according a government decision announced after the weekly cabinet meeting. But it has been opposed by some Sri Lankan industrial and professional groups. The government is to appoint a committee of officials from different ministries and agencies to prepare a new draft of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka, a statement said.

The decision was taken at the weekly meeting of the cabinet of ministers on a proposal made by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.

The inter-agency committee will “prepare a new draft framework to restart negotiations” on the matters related to CEPA, it said.

The committee will comprise of representatives of the ministries of finance, industry, external affairs and economic development and the departments of immigration, civil aviation, the investment promotion agency and the attorney general.

The proposed CEPA seeks to extend and deepen an existing free trade deal between the two countries, enabling a greater flow of people and investments.