Sri Lanka opposition backs stronger economic links with India

Jan 23, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party said it welcomed a move to start talks on a special economic partnership with India after an earlier deal was put on the backburner due to nationalism. “We welcome the news that Sri Lanka and India have decided to begin discussions to develop a framework for a special economic partnership between the two countries,” legislator Harsha de Silva said in a statement.

A joint statement by India and Sri Lanka said Tuesday that talks will begin between secretaries of India’s commerce ministry and Sri Lanka’s powerful finance and economic ministry on a “a framework for a special economic partnership”.

An earlier attempt to sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was undermined by nationalist business interests.

“Even though we are not aware how these discussions would differ from the comprehensive economic partnership or CEPA discussions that have gone on for a number of years without success we believe that any agreement that would ultimately help develop local industry and commerce and help link small and medium entrepreneurs to regional supply chains must be encouraged,” de Silva said.

“Reenergizing our export sector