|No agreement detrimental to country will be signed - President
|Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 5.15 GMT
President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured that he will not sign any agreement that will have adverse effects to the country.
He made this statement after meeting with the protestors against implementing the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India yesterday (25) at Temple Trees.
President Rajapaksa further said that any bilateral agreement should have equal benefits to both countries.
Some groups argue that CEPA benefits India more than Sri Lanka and would adversely affect Sri Lankan businesses.
The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA), which was signed on 28th December 1998 and entered into force with effect from 1 March 2000, aims at promoting economic linkages between India and Sri Lanka through enhancement of bilateral trade and investment.
The Agreement covers only trade in goods and requires the two countries to offer market access for each other`s exports on duty free basis and concessionary tariffs. The ISFTA does not provide for elimination of non-tariff barriers.
Spurred by the implementation of ISFTA in 2000, exports from Sri Lanka to India have increased over the years except for the year 2006. The value of Sri Lanka’s exports to India increased from US$ 55.7 Mn. in 2000, (the year ISFTA became operational) to US$ 516.4 Mn. in 2007.
For the first time in the history, the two way merchandise trade exceeded US$ three billion in 2007 representing 17% of Sri Lanka’s trade with the world.
Accounting for 6.7% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to the world, India remained the island’s 3rd largest buyer in the year 2007 after U.S.A. and U.K. At present, more than 70% of the total value of Sri Lanka’s exports enters India under the tariff preferences offered through the ISFTA.
In 1996, 1997 and from 2001 India became the largest supplier to Sri Lanka overtaking Japan. Sri Lanka’s share of imports from India during 2007 accounted for 24.4% of its total imports from the whole world.
Export from Sri Lanka to India increased by 4.5 % from US$ 494.06 Million in 2006 to US$ 516.40 Million in 2007. It is observed that in 2007, several major product categories recorded increases, when compared with 2006.
Imports from India to Sri Lanka increased by 52.8% from US$ 1.8 billion in 2006 to US$ 2.7 billion in 2007.