Top biz chamber endorses govt’s liberalisation plans | Sunday Observer

Top biz chamber endorses govt’s liberalisation plans

Amidst rumblings by certain quarters over Sri Lanka’s recently signed Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore, the chief of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest and oldest business chamber, last week spoke in favour of trade liberalisation while recognising the government’s progress in terms of trade and investment facilitation.

Addressing the 179th AGM of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Chairman of the Chamber, Rajendra Theagarajah said the Chamber favours an outward orientation of the economy which involves deeper engagement with countries such as through bi-lateral agreements such as FTAs.

“The recently signed FTA with Singapore along with the legislation on Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties and Safeguard Measures are examples of this.

“On FTAs, the Chamber facilitated many meetings for the Negotiating Team to consult with private sector stakeholder groups and is currently studying the text of the Singapore Agreement to provide a responsible view and opinion which is missing in the current discourse in the public domain,” Theagarajah pointed out.

He said the discussion while focusing on national interests should also be based on sound facts in the context of the overall development strategy for the country taking into account the trade and investment nexus.

“Irresponsible statements that are not based on the truth should be avoided,” Theagarajah said.

Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera was the chief guest.

The Chairman of the CCC noted that the country has seen a significant improvement in the macroeconomic fundamentals and a positive shift in the economic narrative under the leadership of the Finance Minister and the stewardship provided by the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

He said that there has been a semblance of policy congruence in recent policy documents brought out by the government which was lacking in recent years.

“As we have highlighted in numerous fora and submissions, the credibility of government policy will solely rest on the effectiveness of its implementation.

“Our hope is that programs such as ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ and ‘Gamperaliya’ (Village Transformation) will bring up the next generation of entrepreneurs and drive economic development to the village,” the Chair of the CCC outlined.

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