National Trade Policy needed before FTAs are inked - NCCSL | Daily News

National Trade Policy needed before FTAs are inked - NCCSL

National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) President Sujeewa Samaraweera said the government needs to hold honest and truthful discussions with the private sector concerning the upcoming free trade agreements.

“This is particularly with regard to China and Singapore rather than conducting discussions to satisfy the private sector,”he said.

Samaraweera speaking to Daily News Business said that it is an absolute necessity to have a national trade policy for Sri Lanka which will govern and provide directions to any trade agreements to be signed by Sri Lanka with any other country.

The overall aspects of FTAs could be looked at through the National Trade Policy for Sri Lanka once it is drafted, Samaraweera noted. When drafting an FTA, he noted that comparative advantages have to be properly looked at.

“We at National Chamber are not discouraging the government’s efforts in mulling FTAs with other countries.What we emphasise is that there should be a collective effort and a proper dialogue between the public and the private sector prior to drafting any kind of trade agreement.”

According to Samaraweera, the ultimate motive of these agreements would be to boost exports and promote entrepreneurship in the country.

Samaraweera also noted that with the background of Sri Lanka entering into the free trade agreements with very strong economies in the near future, it is also vital to implement anti-dumping regulations in Sri Lanka.

“In other words a common mechanism to protect our domestic industries from unfair trade practices is an absolute necessity.”

The Chamber will also continue to work on SMEs by facilitating their business interaction by creating a virtual marketplace at the chamber to create synergies. 


 

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National Trade Policy should cover both Internal and External Trade. The current draft focus only on International Trade. Internal Trade should be owned 100% by citizens of Sri Lanka. That should include distribution of imported goods and local manufacture of goods. In the services sector Local Practice of Professions recognized by statutes or by incorporation by Registrar of Companies should be by local professionals. Some politicians, who do not have their brains in the head, have sold distribution of imported goods, such as wheat flour and oil, to foreigners for a pittance. They should be exposed by civil society organizations.

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