FTA with Singapore Professionals claim Govt misleading public

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By 2018-01-22

By Niranjala Ariyawansha

Sri Lankan professionals claim that they are yet to see a Draft of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to be signed between Sri Lanka and Singapore, although the Government claims that it had received their approval.

They warned that the basic legal framework has to be prepared prior to signing such an agreement. If not, Sri Lanka will have to face a number of serious problems.

Chartered Architect Nalaka Jayaweera, speaking on behalf of the professionals, told Ceylon Today that the Government was spreading false rumours and misleading the public.

He said Singapore has already signed two Free Trade Agreements with China and India and if by chance Sri Lanka, without preparing the basic legal framework, signs such an agreement with Singapore, "We will spontaneously be open to China and India as well."

The Cabinet Paper on this Free Trade Agreement, presented by Minister of International Trade Affairs Malik Samerawickrema last week, received the Cabinet's approval.

However, professionals claim that they are unaware of a Draft in relation to this agreement.

Jayaweera says that prior to signing this agreement, Acts such as the Immigration & Emigration Act, Consolidated Act and the Registration Act should be amended.

"When Sri Lanka was to sign the ETCA with India and on the occasion a Free Trade Agreement was to be signed with China, the people of the country expressed their objection. At that time we said that before these Agreements are drawn up a proper economic policy on behalf of the country should be established. We still do not have an economic policy. It has not been identified, in our economic policy, even as to who we are. When we mentioned this two years ago the Government accepted it. But, so far, no economic policy has been prepared," he said.

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