Ceylon Chamber Chief tells Modi forum dispute resolution mechanism key to boost Indo-Lanka trade
Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:14
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Suresh Shah presents a memnto to Indian Premier Narendra Modi at the business forum held yesterday at Taj Samudra Colombo - Pic by Krishan Ranasinghe
In a bid to ensure deeper economic ties between Sri Lanka and India, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce yesterday insisted that it was well-timed to setup a high-powered dispute resolution mechanism to address key issues pertaining when doing bilateral business.
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce ChairmanSuresh Shah said Sri Lankan businesses have consistently spoken of three challenges: Mutual recognition of standards, non-tariff barriers and testing procedures when doing business with India.
Noting that these factors have kept deeper economic ties between Sri Lanka and India as a concept rather than as a policy, he added that both Governments should soon resolve the matters and meet the needs of modern day trade, commerce and investment.
“India is 60 times larger than Sri Lanka in terms of population and 24 times larger in terms of its economy. Thus, Sri Lankan businesses cannot hope to derive the economies of scale that their Indian counterparts are born to.
Under the circumstances, the concerns of some sections of the Sri Lankan business community are not unfounded. An asymmetric mechanism that recognises Sri Lanka’s inherent scale disadvantages will go a long way to ease the concerns of the business community in this country,” he noted.
He made these remarks at a ‘Business Forum’ held yesterday under the patronage of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Over 400 local business leaders took part in the forum organised by the CCC, along with a group of business leaders from India.
Highlighting the support extended by the Chamber, Shah went on to say Sri Lanka and India share deep and enduring cultural as well as historical ties that date back centuries. The Ceylon Chamber has consistently supported deeper economic ties between our two countries. The Chamber gave its fullest support to the ground-breaking Indo-Lanka FTA, and has argued in favour of the principle of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).
“CEPA has been on the backburner in Sri Lanka. This is partly due to politics and partly due to concerns on the part of some sections of Sri Lanka’s business community who perceive a playing field tilted in favour of their Indian counterparts. The complex regulatory environment in India may have contributed to the latter concern.”
Shah said that they were hopeful of the political will on the Sri Lankan side as it was far more positive at present. “We also have no doubt that under your firm and visionary leadership; the Indian regulatory environment will soon meet the needs of modern day trade, commerce and investment. It is our sincere wish that your visit will lead to deeper economic ties between India and Sri Lanka.”
“As for the Ceylon Chamber, we remain committed to this objective and extend our fullest support to the Government of Sri Lanka to seek a mechanism that is in the best interest of our country,” he asserted.