The proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka, which would be an improvement over the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA), may soon be a reality.
Indicating this, Y.K. Sinha, India’s High Commissioner in Colombo, used the 70th Independence Day as the occasion to tell critics and sceptics of the ETCA that “it is up to Sri Lankans themselves to decide on the contours of any agreement that they sign with a foreign country”. However, there has to be “genuine debate and discussion” among stakeholders in Sri Lanka, he added.
Mr. Sinha, who hoisted the tricolour flag at his residence here on Monday morning, referred to the latest round of discussion on the pact in Colombo last week and expressed the hope that the agreement, when signed, would be of mutual benefit to both countries. It will be a “win-win situation for all”.
India-Sri Lanka bilateral trade stood at $4.6 billion last year, of which Indian exports were valued at about $4 billion, said the diplomat. Nearly 60 per cent of Sri Lankan exports were making use of the FTA whereas 90 per cent Indian exports did not use the channel. “It is obvious who has benefitted more from the FTA,” he said.
Mr. Sinha added that as per the latest estimates, India’s economic growth rate was expected to touch 8 per cent during the current financial year, the Hindu reports.