No amendments to SAFTA - ‘Trade agreements must not affect local production’
Minister Keheliya Rambukwella -
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 the Ministry.
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 incorrect.
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.
Courtesy : Disna MUDALIGE of the Daily News
Ministry of External Affairs
15 June 2012