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JO action on S’pore FTA hinges on independent committee outcome


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The Joint Opposition (JO) on Tuesday revealed that if the independent committee appointed by the President to study the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with Singapore concluded that the FTA would not yield negative effects then it would not oppose it. 

President Maithripala Sirisena appointed an independent committee on 11 August comprising five experts to study the FTA signed with Singapore chaired by Prof. W.D. Lakshman. 

Other members include Prof. Sirimevan Colombage, Prof. Ajitha Tennakoon, Consultant Sanath Jayanetti and former Central Bank Assistant Governor R.A. Jayatissa. The committee is expected to submit its report within two months. 

Addressing a press conference in Colombo, MP Bandula Gunawardane said that the items included in the Singapore FTA would be imported without any restrictions, which would further depreciate the Sri Lankan rupee. 

“The President has understood that the FTA signed with Singapore will lead Sri Lankan industries to a dead end. And the agriculture sector will also be affected by this FTA,” he stated.

He added that economic experts and professionals who met President Sirisena had highlighted the negative effects of the FTA inked with Singapore. 

“That is why the President has appointed an independent committee to study the clauses of the FTA and assess the positive and negative outcomes of it,” he added

Meanwhile, he said that both the President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were on foreign tours at moment while the country was facing serious challenges. 

“The prevailing crisis situation has a negative effect on agriculture as well. Farmers are in a very difficult situation due to the drought and have not been able to market their products but the Government has not taken any major decisions to curb the situation,” he asserted.


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