ETCA Next round in Delhi in April

Published : 8:55 am  March 13, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Kelum Bandara
The Government had sought fresh dates at the end of this month for another round of discussions on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to be signed with India, an official said yesterday.

Already, three rounds of talks have been conducted at officials’ level between the two sides. The last was in January in Sri Lanka.
Secretary to the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade Chandani Wijewardane told the 
 the next round could be conducted in New Delhi.

“We have sought dates for talks towards the end of this month. New Delhi is yet to confirm the dates. We will have it hopefully in April,” she said.

Alongside, she said there would be parallel negotiations for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries such as Singapore and China. She added the Government intended to finalise trade negotiations on ETCA this year.

“Nothing has been finalised yet. Only the initial texts of the agreement are being discussed,” she said.

A Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and India has already been in operation since 2000. 

However, the trade balance has grown heavily in favour of India. Sri Lankan exporters complain that bottlenecks in the Indian bureaucratic system and other non-tariff barriers have stifled trade with India even under the current agreement.

The Indian side argues that most of its exports to Sri Lanka are channelled outside the FTA, and therefore the FTA could not be blamed for the widening trade gap.