7:25 AM

JHU and NFF concerned over CEPA

The Jaathika Hela Urumaya has expressed serious concern over the proposed Indo-Lanka Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and conveyed the party's apprehensions to Minister G.L. Peiris. At a recent discussion with the minister, the Venerable Athureliye Ratana said that CEPA could turn out to be the same as SAPTA (South Asia Preferential Trade Agreement) or even worse.

He recalled that SAPTA brought no benefit to Sri Lanka. According to him its only outcome was that it enabled India export everything from the humble karapincha leaf to TATA buses and Maruti cars to Sri Lanka. He asked how is it possible for Sri Lankan products to compete with these.

Among the other participants in the discussion were JHU members Minister Champika Ranawaka, Udaya Gammanpila, Nishantha Warnasuriya and Anuruddha Pradeep.

National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa said that CEPA is bound to cause seriously harm to Sri Lanka. According to him the Indian authorities have consulted around 1000 Indian economists on CEPA. But in Sri Lanka's case it was the opposite, he alleged. Instead of consulting professionals attempts were being made to conceal the proposed agreement from Parliament and have it signed during the SAARC Summit after getting Cabinet approval. (It is however now understood that the agreement will not be signed on the sidelines of SAARC).