Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today branded as “traitors” those opposed to a proposed trade deal with India, a day after the opposition criticised the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) as an attempt to “foreignise” the economy.
Speaking in southern Hambantota port, Wickremesinghe once again took on the trade union and other professional organisations.
“Those who are against this are traitors because they want us not to find employment for for the youth,” he said. Wickremesinghe said it was a misconception that the country would be flooded with Indians who would invade limited job opportunities in Sri Lanka in the IT sector. “In the previous CEPA deal there were provisions for goods services. Here we only seek technology and goods, no services,” he said.
He said investment by the Chinese in Sri Lanka would be useless without having a vast market as that of India. “We need to tap into bigger markets to create employment. My government has the mandate to create jobs,” he said.
The opposition had demanded that the shortcomings in the existing FTA should be sorted out before concluding the deal saying the agreement would be advantageous to India and inimical to Sri Lankan economic interests.
Alleging the ETCA would “foreignise” Sri Lanka’s economy, the opposition wants that the agreement include goods, trade in services and investment. They also said Indian companies are under no obligation to recruit Sri Lankans.
In recent weeks the doctors’ trade union and several other employees’ organisations have taken to the streets to protest the ETCA with India. (Economic Times)