India has expressed confidence that Sri Lanka would
agree to conclude talks on Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement in the
next four months. The proposed agreement which faced stiff opposition from the
islandís middle class is aimed at liberalizing trade norms besides widening its
scope to cover Services and Investment. The talks on concluding the agreement
have been going on for the past fourteen years.
The talks are going at a healthy pace and both
the countries are targeting to conclude the talks by December for the Economic
and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA).an official of the commerce
ministry was quoted by an Indian wire agency.
rounds of talks have taken place between the representatives of the two
countries amidst stiff opposition from the island nation for including services
sector under the scope of the agreement. A number of Sri Lankan trade unions
have opposed the inclusion of service sector apprehending that the strong
Indian industry would take control of the service sector in the island.
Both the countries already have a free trade
agreement (FTAs) in goods, but now the talks are on to widen the scope of this
pact by including services and investments to make it comprehensive.
India and Sri Lanka have a free trade agreement
in goods implemented in March 2000. India has a healthy trade surplus in goods
with Sri Lanka. India exported goods worth 4.5 billion US Dollars in 2017-18
and its imports from that country were only 773 million US Dollars.
Sri Lanka is Indiaís major trading partner in
South Asia. In 2003, both sides set up a joint study group to widen the ambit
of the FTA. Based on its recommendations, they started negotiations for a
comprehensive economic partnership agreement in February 2005.