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Tue, 18 December 2018 20:15:19
Sri Lanka’s Chamber calls for dispute resolution mechanism for Indo-Lanka trade
16 Mar, 2015 12:15:40
Mar 16, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber of Commerce asked both countries to address issues of Indo – Lanka trade through a high powered dispute resolution mechanism.
“Sri Lankan business have consistently spoken of three challenges when doing business in India,” Suresh Shah, chairman of the Ceylon Chamber said.

“They are mutual recognition of standards , non-tariff barriers and testing procedures. It is our hope that these issues are put to rest fast and we call upon both governments to set up high powered dispute resolution mechanism to do so,”

“So that the more important issues pertaining to deeper economics ties between our two countries can be addressed.”

He said this, addressing a business forum held in Colombo recently with the participation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bilateral trade between India, Sri Lanka's largest trade partner and Sri Lanka stood at 4.6 billion US dollars in 2014, data showed.

He said Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Sri Lanka and India has been on the backburner in Sri Lanka.

“This is partly due to politics and partly due to concerns of the parts of some section of Sri Lanka’s business community who perceive a playing field tilted in favor of their Indian counterparts,” Shah said.

“The complex regulatory system in India may have contributed to the latter concerns.”

Shah said the three factors have kept deeper economic ties between Sri Lanka and India as a concept rather than as a policy.

“Political will, will concern among the business community, both of which refers to Sri Lanka and the regulatory frame work referred to India,”

“Hopefully the political will of the Sri Lankan side is far more positive now.”

He said, the chamber hopes the Indian regulatory environment will soon meet the needs of modern day’s trade, commerce and investment under the leadership of Indian PM.

Shah said the third constraint is anxiety over the unequal relationship between the two countries.

“India is 60 times larger than Sri Lanka in terms of population and 24 times larger than in terms of its economy. Thus Sri Lankan businesses cannot hope to derive the economics of scales that their Indian counter parts are born to,” Shah said.

“Under the circumstances the concerns of some sections of the Sri Lankan business community are not unfounded,”

“An asymmetric mechanism that recognizes Sri Lankas’ inherent scales, disadvantage will go long way to ease the concerns of the business community of this country.”

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