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The proposed Economic & Technical Agreement (ETCA) with India needs to be viewed beyond the vilifying exaggerations made against it for quick political mileage and contrary to the general perception, ETCA is not the umbrella agreement that decimates almost all services and professions in Sri Lanka, said State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe last week.

State Minister Senasinghe was delivering the concluding remarks of the eighth Exporters Forum by Sri Lanka’s apex exports facilitator EDB on 29 February. The Forum, presided by Minister Senasinghe, is a multi-stakeholder platform conducted by Sri Lanka’s apex exports facilitator EDB to speedily resolve issues faced by exporters.

Around 37 firms took part with 55 listed issues for discussion at the eighth Exporters Forum.  “The Proposed Economic & Technical Agreement (ETCA) with India needs to be viewed beyond the vilifying exaggerations made against it. These allegations are made for quick political mileage. ETCA is portrayed as an agreement that would swallow professions and services of Sri Lanka. In fact, the services it covers are highly specialized and of niche in nature – under-sea welding of ships and vessels, for example” said Minister Senasinghe and added: “This Forum is a sign of our continuous efforts to help the committed Sri Lankan exporters.”

Interestingly, as for 29 February 8th Forum, three issues forwarded by exporters have already been solved even before the Forum opened.

Another novel feature is that Trade Agreements’ related issues are being taken up for the first time in addition to the usual sector related and inland revenue related issues.