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Govt. Looking At Signing CEPA

Mar 7, 2011 10:38:59 AM - thesundayleader.lk

The government has said it is looking at signing the bilateral economic cooperation agreement with India soon.

Industries and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen has told a group of Indian businessmen that Sri Lanka is considering to finalize the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka at the earliest.

Acting on a proposal submitted by Minister Bathiudeen, the Cabinet has approved setting up of an Inter-Agency Committee under Sri Lanka’s director General of Commerce to prepare a new draft framework to restart negotiations on the CEPA.

The CEPA agreement, is expected to be an extension of the existing Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) has been discussed between Sri Lanka and India since the 2008 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Colombo but is yet to be signed.

The Minister has reportedly said that he is hopeful of an early finalization of the process by which both countries can strengthen their centuries-long historic relations.

The Inter-Agency Committee comprises the representatives of the ministries of Finance, Industry, External Affairs and Economic Development and departments of Immigration, Civil Aviation, BOI, and the Attorney General.