Nature’s Secret Chief against signing CEPA with India

Friday, 20 March 2015 00:08 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Charumini de Silva A senior business leader yesterday urged the Government to refrain from signing any further trade or economic agreements with India, without rectifying the current issues related to the Sri Lanka-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Speaking to the Daily FT, Nature’s Secrets ChairmanSamantha Kumarasinghe charged that the Sri Lanka-India FTA was one-sided, pointing out that India had to signify its sincerity. “If India is really trying to help Sri Lanka’s economy grow, allow Sri Lankan exports to India without blocking them with non-tariff barriers. This clearly shows that India is not doing sincere and fair trade with Sri Lanka,” he added. Kumarasinghe urged the Government to be more open about these issues and hold discussions before entering into any further trade or economic agreement with India. “The Government of India has to stop their fishermen stealing fish from our waters and our Government too has to be more open and vocal about this issue. If the neighbour is exceptionally caring for us, why would they allow their fishermen to steal?” he questioned. Explaining further, he said; “Indian investors have not brought any significant investments benefitting Sri Lanka’s economy or the country; instead they have used undue political influence which is the very reason the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) should not be entered into.” He went on to say that India was doing what the US did to have a control of emerging economies in this part of the world. Trade agreements are some of the economic tools that India makes use ofto keep the neighbouring countries under its control. Kumarasinghe also claimed that Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) was the only chamber that was in favour of signing CEPA agreements with India. “I do not know if this is the common opinion of the chamber members or an individual opinion. The CCC is not the only chamber in this country; there are many other national level chambers which assist to uplift the local industries,” he quipped. Local entrepreneurs have managed to excel in the local and in the international arena amidst many obstacles, thereby the community must support the local industries if this country is to move forward, Kumarasinghe opined. (CDD)