FTA, beyond and impact
There is much talk on the significance of the CEPA in business news.
The previous regime signed the FTA with India and it is realistic that
we move to the next stage for exchange of goods and services between the
The Ministry of Trade has to facilitate the expectations of the
chambers involved in international trade with regard to the trade
practices already in force. It is true that we have been rushing to the
next stage of the FTA with India with tremendous experience in trade
transactions with our big brother.. CEPA is going for the export of
professional services for which we have a better edge having the highest
literacy rate in Asia.
It is true that some exporters had problems with India specially with
Vanaspathi, cutflowers, tea or fisheries etc. Yet our neighbours are
watching the progress we make in trade relations with our big brother.
It is informed that our exports have grown 10 times with India, in
just four years according to our private sector statistics. According to
statistics the APTA exports show that the major bulk from Sri Lanka is
going to India.
We should commend the vision of the former regime for floating the
FTA with India and making the island the ground for Indian products. If
we take imported pharmaceutical goods alone equal to British standards
our hospitals would have faced a shortage of drugs by now. It is the
same case for printing and publication of books.
Those who are sceptical over the extention of the FTA should answer
with statistics rather than base their arguments in general.
If the people cannot be guaranteed the food, clothing, shelter and
drugs at affordable prices, pious declarations of this nature will be of
no use. We have been able to maintain social equity and minimum
standards of livelihood for our 20 million citizens, under hostile
atmosphere of conflict and commercial insecurity.
With the increasing defense expenditure we have to find the cheapest
sources in the regional market for our imports and the competitive
advantage for our exports with minimum export cost.
India with a billion population is just 30 miles away from our sea
shores and it is unthinkable that we do not deal with a giant,
This is what is observed by the Minister of Export Development that
Sri Lanka’s geographical location in the region and its place in the
subcontinent has to be considered in making decisions on trade.
CEPA is an extension of the FTA. CEPA is opening our professional
services to India. Even by now our middle class children opt to enter
Indian private educational institutions for higher education.
The educated professionals here can outsource their services for
Indian professional institutions. They are not going to Europe to find
the exchange but outsource their professional services to India, where
in turn they receive double the value of our currency for their
We are not going to lose our professionals but they would be
continuing their work here while outsourcing their services to india
under CEPA. We have proved that we are leading professionals in
engineering, architecture, education, health, hospitality trade and such
other professional services.
With our record under western domination for 400 years we are ahead
of the Indian brethren in our standards of lifestyle, quality of output
and product standards acceptable to international level. Some of our
brands have hit international standards. Already some of our products
have masted in trade branding in India.
Minister of International Trade Prof G.L. Peiris, has emphasised the
need for export agencies to think seriously on the potential of service
exports for which we process the niche than our regional neighbors in
the SARRC. According to the Minister our remittances by service exports
have beaten the apparel earnings.
Therefore the exports agencies have to cater to the needs of the
service export sector. CEPA is one safe destinations for our service
exports as the Institute of Policy Studies have indicated in their
nce Prof. Peiris addressing a regional conference on trade and
services in South Asia in Colombo has emphasised that in human history
mankind had been hunting with anxiety to know the unknown.
There has always been an element of risk in the process. Prof. Pieris
indicated that the FTA with India outlines enormous participation on
service exports. The CEPA would leave room to transfer the goods to
services, the Minister said. The present day society being more complex
the property, shares, debauchees and trade marks do come under Property
law, he explained. The risk does prevail in the service trading as well.
The Minister explained that foreign professionals have come here and
operate business like the Apollo Hospitals Ltd., Deshal de Mel of the
IPS presented the case for Sri lanka in service liberalisation trading
in the regional hub at the seminar held in Colombo.
This proves that we have all the advantages to be the hub for
professional services in the subcontinent. We are major partners of the
1989 Accord with India and it has been have proved that we are
independent to have our affairs with minimum interference by India
giving the independence to our Courts to determine our future
constitutional action, through proper legal mechanism.
They proved this by the decision to have democracy in the Northern
and the Eastern province. Now it is time ripe that we show how best we
can deal with the big brother by upgrading the FTA into CEPA as expected
by our local business community
The proposed Sethu and the oil exploration project are covered by
different agreements. Sri Lanka can prove that we can be a Taiwan to
Our professionals are capable to beat the Indian counterparts in most
disciplines since they have had the best education in Asia. The
Institute of Policy Studies can take the lead to inform the circles,
before misconceptions take the centre stage in Business News. - Bandula