India should remove non-tariff barriers on Sri Lankan imports and the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement between the two nations should be implemented in phases, said a top official of the National Chamber of Exporters (NCE)of Sri Lanka.
President of NCE of Sri Lanka Ramal G. Jasinghe said Sri Lanka was open for joint ventures with Indian companies. The two countries signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2000.
“Lot of non-trade barriers are being imposed on Sri Lankan goods reaching the Indian shores. These barriers could be in the form of various charges, procedures,” Jasinghe told visiting Indian journalists.
According to him, the procedures differ from port to port in India and the clearance of goods takes time affecting business.
The private sector chamber official also said if only the non-trade barriers were removed then bilateral trade between the two nations would increase further.
He said Sri Lankan companies are open for joint ventures with Indian companies investing in the island nation.
Globally India is the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka. The trade between the two nations grew after the signing of the FTA.
According to Jasinghe, the proposed ETCA between India and Sri Lanka should not be implemented all in one go.
He added that the people of Sri Lanka should be made confident about the agreement and also about going global.
Around four rounds of negotiations on ETCA have got over between India and Sri Lanka. India is hoping to finalise the agreement by the end of 2017.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan was in Colombo at the invitation of Gamesa, a global wind turbine major. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)