In the wake of Brexit, the commercial law community of the country queried as to whether the Sri Lankan foreign service possessed competent persons to renegotiate trade agreements with the European Union (EU) Parliament and to push for in favour of the country.
Senior Lecturer at the Department of Commercial Law of the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo, Attorney-at-Law Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa highlighted that while Sri Lanka was yet to get their act together, India had already sent professionals to renegotiate the terms and conditions of trade agreements with Members of the EU Parliament.
What is Sri Lanka’s strategy in this regard? He questioned.
We have not found diverse markets and neither do we have production to diversify into, he noted.
The proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement, which has been vehemently opposed by the professionals of the country, will not only provide India with the edge on trade and services but will also result in Sri Lanka’s unemployment rate rising, he remarked.
“Britain’s exit from the EU following a referendum highlights why Sri Lanka’s foreign policy must take into account the commercial aspect in international trade. We have a lot to learn from China in this regard. After October, we will not get any benefits or tax reliefs. There will be a breakdown in the apparel industry. We will have to go for unilateral free trade agreements,” he mentioned.