Sri Lanka will only sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India if it is advantageous to the country, deputy minister of policy planning and economic development Harsha de Silva said at an event in Colombo.
“We have to be convinced that this agreement is beneficial to Sri Lanka. I don’t represent the government of India, I am representing the government of Sri Lanka,” he said at a seminar on CEPA and its implications on the Sri Lankan economy, organised by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka in Colombo.
“We will win for this country and therefore our government will not enter into any agreement that is not in the best interest of our country.”
“The new government is for trade and we want to make Sri Lanka a more completive country in these parts of the world. Our intention is to formulate policy to do this, unless of course if we are not around after the upcoming election. We can’t have double digit growth in the next 10 years if our exports don’t perform well.”
During a meeting earlier this year between Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj agreed move ahead with the stalled agreement, which the Rajapaksa-government, at the behest of politicians and nationalist groups, was reluctant to sign.
President Maithripala Sirisena claimed he deliberately dodged talks on CEPA during his visit to Delhi where he met Prime Minister Modi.
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Bilateral relations? (10 April 2012)