Sri Lanka needs 6 months to fix issues before signing ETCA: Professionals


Mar 30, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should work towards a national trade policy within which ETCA should be framed with all required regulatory framework and national interests in place, Sri Lanka’s Engineers Association said.

Engineer Nanda Gunawardena speaking at a recent seminar asked the government to delay the signing of ETCA until a proper national policy on trade is formulated.

“Sri Lankan politicians are keen to sign bilateral agreements, but the country lacks a national policy on trade,” Gunawardena said.

“We as professionals are asking six months to put this right and it’s a reasonable time before signing the framework agreement.”

Replying to the concern, Indian High Commission’s First Secretary of Economic and Commercial, Kartik Pande said India is ready to consider if a formal request comes from the Sri Lankan side.

“We need to make sure that this actually being negotiated in a correct position and we have always maintained that we are ready to work with a pace that Sri Lanka is comfortable with.” Pande said.

Gunawardena stated that representatives from professional associations have been having couple of positive discussions with International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama.

“For the first time, the Minister officially shared the ETCA framework agreement with us and he requested us to give comments. We are in agreement even to the extent of doing some of the legal enactments,” Gunawardena said.

“But what we are asking more time and we’ll work together. Once after we do these enactments then you go ahead and sign the agreement.”

He stressed politicians are always enthusiastic to sign bilateral agreements without looking at the necessary legal infrastructure to support its smooth functioning.

“Otherwise we have a concern. For an example, the engineering council act is not been passed for the past 15 years.”