Aug 05, Colombo: The secretary of the Patriotic National Movement of Sri Lanka says that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Sri Lanka and India should not be signed.
In response to a statement by the visiting Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sherma that the discussions regarding the agreement would recommence, the activist said that CEPA would not bring any benefit to Sri Lanka.
He said that the powerful agreement, which covers goods and services trade between the two countries, opens space for "mighty India" to exploit Sri Lankan market instead of fairy tales of the island having access to India.
He stressed that the businessmen and intellectuals needed to be vigilant regarding talks on CEPA.
Minister Sharma who is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka said India is not seeking reciprocity in trade with Sri Lanka and assured Sri Lanka of preferential access to the large Indian market.
He emphasized that the signing of CEPA between the two countries will make the current economic engagement more comprehensive by bringing more investment and services into Sri Lanka.
The trade between the two countries has reached US$ 5 billion mark this year but the exports to India accounted for only US$ 554 million.
Despite the many benefits pointed out by Sri Lankan business establishments, Sri Lanka has not yet agreed to sign the CEPA due to the concerns raised by some groups in the country.