Jun 26, 2018

House debate next month on FTA with Singapore Featured

Joint opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena has requested speaker Karu Jayasuriya in writing for one-day debate on the free trade agreement signed with Singapore.

Assistant secretary general of parliament Thushani Rohanadheera said the debate would most likely be held on July 18.

The JO has alleged parliament has not been informed about the content of the FTA.

An explanation

Meanwhile, international trade minister Malik Samarawickrama has sent a letter to the chief prelates and Anu Nayaka Theras of all Buddhist chapters, explaining the agreement with Singapore and answering certain allegations by the JO.

The FTA was submitted to the cabinet for approval on 22 December 2017 and was discussed by ministers on 02 and 09 of January 2018.

After obtaining observations of the Attorney General, the final draft was submitted to the cabinet on 16 January 2018 and approval obtained.

Samarawickrama says in the letter that there was a misnomer that Sri Lanka was without a trade policy, noting a new policy was adopted by the cabinet on 01 August 2017.

That was formulated after nearly one year of deliberations with stakeholders by a committee headed by economic adviser to the president Dr. Sarath Rajapathirana.

The minister refutes allegations the FTA will allow Singapore to set up manpower companies for housemaid, carpenter and labourer jobs.

The agreement can be changed if necessary two years after its signing with mutual consent and even withdraw from it after a 12 month advance notice, he says.

Given below is the letter: