Government refutes press report:
No amendments to SAFTA
‘Trade agreements must not affect local production’:
The government has not taken a decision to restrict imports from
India, Mass Media and Information Minister and Cabinet Spokesman
Keheliya Rambukwella said.
The minister made this statement refuting a report in an English
daily yesterday, while addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing at
He said the government has paid attention to Sri Lanka’s trade
relations and agreements with SAARC countries and Qatar, as a whole, and
not specifically with India.
The minister observed that the media speculation on the restriction
of imports from India by amending the SAFTA agreement was misleading and
He said the government is of the view that it should have room to act
if those trade agreements directly affect local sectors, such as,
agricultural and milk production, irrespective of whether it is India or
any other country.
He noted government attention had been drawn to assess the impacts of
its trade agreements frequently.
He said the Cabinet decided to hold discussions with relevant member
countries when the country is negatively affected by any such trade
agreement. He said the government always adheres to a policy of
negotiation with the country in such matters.
He said that the government anticipates to discuss amendments to
certain sections of the trade agreements which affect the country badly.
He said that the government's trade and economic targets should not
clash with the trade agreements. He observed that the government would
closely and frequently analyze the impact of those agreements on various
sectors of the country.