FTA with Singapore contains environmental issues: CEJ

Published : 9:01 am  September 20, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


 reads | 

By Sheain Fernandopulle   

The highly debated Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore contained some factors that could adversely affect the environment, Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said yesterday.   

Addressing a news briefing, he said some banned and harmful waste items were free to import to Sri Lanka and those items were added in the Export-Import list of the FTA.   

“Sri Lanka has banned importation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) in 1979. PCB was officially banned worldwide under the Stockholm Convention in 2001. But our Export-Import list still allows them. This FTA allows importation of PCB, PCB contaminated or containing items free under different HS codes including 29039913,” Withanage said.   

“Although the Gazette Extraordinary 2044/40 published November 9, 2017 under the Import and Export Control Act No 1 or 1969 has banned some of these items, it does not reflect in the FTA annex referring to the Tariff Schedule in Sri Lanka,” he added.   

He said some banned and harmful items like pesticides, weedicides, waste straw, ash and residues from the incineration of municipal waste, waste and scrap of rare-earth metals, waste pharmaceuticals, municipal waste, sewage sludge, clinical waste, and waste of Micro cellular etc, were also included in the list.   

“If these items to enter into Sri Lanka, it would adversely affect the country’s environment. Hence, we urge the Government to update the Export-Import list of the FTA in a way that it would not cause any damage to the environment and other sectors,” he added.