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SL to conclude negotiations on ETCA with India soon

February 19, Colombo (LNW): Following the recent enactment of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand, Sri Lanka is presently strategising to conclude negotiations on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India within the forthcoming months, while also gearing up to resume discussions on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in April, as per sources familiar with the matter.

There exists underlying apprehension regarding the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India within certain circles.

Sri Lanka’s professional sectors remain cautious about liberalising the service industry, expressing concerns that an influx of Indian professionals may jeopardise local job opportunities.

After a hiatus of five years, Sri Lanka re-initiated discussions on the ETCA last year, with the 13th round of talks convened in January of the current year.

The upcoming negotiations are scheduled to take place in Colombo from March 10 to 12, aiming to conclude negotiations by the end of April, contingent upon receiving Cabinet clearance, for a swift signing of the agreement.

Regarding the service sector, it has been reported that India has advocated for its liberalisation; however, Sri Lanka has declined such provisions, particularly concerning professional fields like medicine and engineering.

In an effort to assuage the concerns of Sri Lankan professionals, the government plans to engage with organisations such as the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) in the lead-up to the next round of talks.

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