Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena claimed to have deliberately avoided talking about the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when the pair met in New Delhi last month.
“I want to assure you that I will not enter any agreement with any country that will be harmful to our businesses,” said Mr Sirisena, addressing local Sri Lankan businesses over the weekend.
Mr Sirisena went on to highlight the cancelling of contracts for 16 foreign mining firms; a move he claimed would strengthen local businesses.
"Sixteen foreign companies had been given gem mining licences by the previous administration, and the president in an effort to protect local miners cancelled those permits without further investigation," said Mr Sirisena’s office.
When Mr Sirisena visited New Delhi last month, a range of agreements were signed in attempts to expand trade between the two countries, including a landmark nuclear deal, which will see India help Sri Lanka build its nuclear energy infrastructure the Indian foreign ministry said.
The CEPA, which was signed in 2003, however, has yet to be fully implemented.
See our earlier posts:
The big bad CEPA (24 Aug 2012)
Remain 'vigilant' of CEPA and 'Mighty India' (05 Aug 2012)