Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA being reviewed- AG | Daily News


 

Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA being reviewed- AG

 
UPDATE: The Attorney General yesterday informed the Supreme Court that a Committee appointed by the new Government is currently reviewing and re-visiting the context of the Sri Lanka–Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by the previous government.

Senior State Counsel Nirmalan Wigneswaran appearing for the Attorney General informed the Supreme Court that the Committee is reviewing the agreement with the Singaporean counterpart but the review process is being delayed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the petitions came up before two-judge-Bench comprising Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice Yasantha Kodagoda, the Court was informed that the committee appointed to look into the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free trade agreement is yet to release its final report.

 

Accordingly, seven Fundamental Rights petitions filed seeking an interim relief staying or suspending the implementation of the Sri Lanka–Singapore Free Trade Agreement signed on the 23rd of January, 2018 were yesterday fixed for support on November 3 by the Supreme Court.

These petitions had been filed by Secretary of Mawbima Lanka Padanama, Kapila Gamage, Government Medical Officers Association and five others naming former Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, Secretary to the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade Chandanie Wijayawardhana and former cabinet of Ministers as respondents.

In his petition, Attorney-at-Law Kapila Gamage alleged that the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) was neither considered nor approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and therefore, has no force or effect in law.

He further alleged that the SLSFTA was not disclosed to the Public, in spite of several requests made by the interested parties, including professional activists.

The petitioner stated that the State would be placed in danger of weakening its authority to maintain control over the economy and security and thereby to protect the economic and other rights of the domestic individuals, entities and industries when liberalizing trading and access to domestic market though Free Trade Agreements with States having stronger economies and legal frameworks.

The Petitioner states that the SLSFTA shall have direct and adverse impact on the Public Finance of Sri Lanka and therefore requires the prior sanction and approval of the Parliament pertaining to the scope and mandate of negotiations, signing and implementation of the SLSFTA. However, in the absence of such approval the SLSFTA is lacking a constitutional mandate and is therefore illegal and null and void, he argues.

The petitioner maintained that the executive actions relating to the commencement of negotiations, signing and implementation of SLSFTA shall violate Articles 148 and 157 of the Constitution and also amounts to the alienation of the Legislative powers of Parliament.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardane with Counsel Rukshan Senadheera and Lakmini Warusevitane appeared for the GMOA.

Senior Counsel Canishka Witharana with Counsel Kapila Gamage appeared for the Mawbima Lanka Padanama. Senior State Counsel Nirmalan Wigneshwaran appeared for the Attorney General.

 
 
 

Sri Lanka-Singapore Free trade agreement being reviewed-AG -Time: 13:06
 
The Attorney General today informed Supreme Court that the committee appointed by new Government is currently in the process of reviewing and re-visiting the context of the Sri Lanka–Singapore Free Trade Agreement signed by previous government.
 
Senior State Counsel Nirmalan Wigneswaran appearing for the Attorney General informed Supreme Court that the committee is reviewing the agreement with Singaporean counterpart and further said the reviewing process is being delayed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
When the petitions came up before two-judge-bench comprising Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice Yasantha Kodagoda, the court was informed that the committee appointed to look into the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free trade agreement is yet to release its final report.
 
Accordingly, seven Fundamental Rights petitions filed seeking an interim relief staying or suspending the implementation of the Sri Lanka–SingaporeFree Trade Agreement signed on the 23rd of January, 2018 were today fixed for support on November 3 by Supreme Court.
 

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