Government should be transparent by releasing copies of the draft Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (C.E.P.A.) framework agreement as well as the relevant schedules to all Chambers and Associations, a former Chamber boss said.
National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (N.C.E.) Past President Kulatunga Rajapaksa said that before the government seeks the views and inputs of all stakeholders in regard to C.E.P.A., this should be done in the first instance. This would enable the private sector to provide constructive inputs to make the final agreement acceptable to the exporter community in general, by establishing the benefits that would accrue to Sri Lanka, he said.
N.C.E. President Sarath de Silva said that non tariff barriers, including quarantine barriers which prevent growth in trade of agricultural products should be removed for the effective implementation of the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (I.L.F.T.A.). He said that private sector chambers have already communicated with the relevant chambers in Kerala, Andra Pradesh, Pollachchi and Chennai focusing on these aspects.
The members of these chambers are keen to import products from Sri Lanka to India. Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Chennai Vadivel Krishnamoorthi and de Silva have also initiated action for the removal of quarantine barriers in consultation with the relevant authorities in India and the Sri Lanka Commerce Department. De Silva was of the view that it is possible to achieve the national export target of US$ 20 billion by 2020 if the private sector is motivated with appropriate policy initiatives and incentives with an all Island production effort in the first instance, and aggressive export market promotion. To achieve this objective, especially the Agricultural and Fisheries sectors as well as small & medium enterprises should be engaged in full gear in a production and market promotion drive, he said.