SL-S’pore FTA must be a win-win process

Published : 9:05 am  August 29, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Untitled-14By Lahiru Pothmulla   

Any Free Trade Agreement including the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) should be a win-win process for both countries, MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa  said yesterday.  

At his maiden joint opposition (JO) news briefing, the former minister said the SLSFTA was a different agreement unlike previous FTAs Sri Lanka signed with other countries.  

“Previous FTAs only focused on import and export of goods but through the SLSFTA, the government has opened the domestic service sector to Singapore. Unlike a handful of services such as medical, legal and engineering, the rest of the services have no regulator or accreditation body to recognize employees especially in the hospitality sector. Therefore, anyone with only a certificate can find employment opportunities in Sri Lanka. The SLSFTA is more favourable to Singapore,”  he said.   

The MP said if any amendment was to be made to the FTA, Sri Lanka would have to go to Singapore for dispute settlement and most likely will have to pay compensation if any clause is to be changed.   JO MP Tharaka Balasuriya told the media conference that Sri Lanka’s economy was on the verge of collapse and this has also been predicted by credit rating companies such as Moody’s.   

He said the hospitality sector especially hotels have been badly affected by the government’s  fiscal mismanagement.   “Most of the tourists are now using service providers such as Airbnb instead of hotels. In the near future, the country will fail to settle the loans it had obtained and become a failed state,” he said.