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The public commission for formulating the basic features of a national policy on international trade will be holding public meetings to elicit the views of the public in this regard and present a report to the government within four to five months.
The report will be made available publicly.

Professor Emeritus at the Department of Economics of the University of Colombo and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo and Chairman of the Commission, Prof. W.D. Lakshman, said that under matters related to international trade, there would be imports and exports, bilateral agreements and everything else that influenced trade relations between countries.

Strictly speaking, the divestiture of various assets to foreign companies would fall beyond the purview of international trade.

“The intention of the appointment of the said commission by a combination of professionals associations called the Professionals National Front (comprised of 13 professional associations), is to form a coherent picture of the public opinion (including of organizations, individuals, non-governmental organizations) regarding the said matter”, Prof Lakshman explained.

Public opinion will be in the form of discussions held by various parties with the commission, evidence given by people before the commission and written submissions made to the commission by those living in the country and outside.

“Owing to the limited finances available, conducting public sittings island-wide is a little too far-fetched so while meetings will mostly be held in Colombo, meetings will also be held in a few outstation places, he pointed out.

“Whether the government heeds our report or not is a matter entirely up to them,” Prof. Lakshman noted.

The seven-member Commission which met on April 6 and April 20 is scheduled to meet on April 27 and on May 4, 18 and 25, at the Professional Centre of the Organization of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka at Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, Colombo 7.

RLJ