India pushing free trade deal with Sri Lanka: report

May 13, 2010 (LBO) – India’s is keen to push head with a trade and services liberalization deal with Sri Lanka which was scuttled by protectionist forces in the island on the brink of signing, a media report said. There is already an Indo-Lanka Free Trade Arrangement which had liberalized a range of traded goods but a broader deal called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) would also have opened trade in services.

India’s Economic Times newspaper said India’s foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had raised the issue of reviving the CEPA during a recent visit to Colombo and it is “likely to figure in discussions” when Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa visits India later in May.

The Economic Times said under the negotiated CEPA Sri Lanka was supposed to liberalize 32 new products while India would open 114 items.

In services India will open around ’80 sub-sectors’ while Sri Lanka is expected to gradually open about 20 sub-sectors, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said Rao had warned against ‘protectionist voices’ saying that CEPA would be beneficial for Sri Lanka.

“I don’t see why the success of the FTA can’t be replicated through CEPA. It should work wonders in t