Government justifies trade agreements.

Reconcilation & conflict resolutionThe Sri Lankan government on Monday strongly justified its move to ink bilateral and regional trade agreements.

Alluding to opposition in certain quarters to the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement with India, Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, told a gathering of representatives of trade and industry of Sri Lanka and Swedish companies that “our government is going to do, whatever it takes. We have some difficulty because people may not necessarily understand what our objectives are in entering into certain bilateral or regional trade agreements. But, we are doing it in the best interests of our people.”

Explaining the rationale and relevance of signing such pacts, Dr. de Silva said “Swedish companies would like to come here and invest not just for the Sri Lankan market but for the global or regional market.”

Sharing the dais with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Ambassador to India and Sri Lanka Harald Sandberg, the Sri Lankan Minister said if the Swedish companies came forward to invest in his country, “we want to give you the access not just to what will be a 8-million $30,000 per capita income city in the next 10-15 years but also access to Indian, Pakistani and Bangladesh markets”.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who held discussion with Ms. Wallström at his office, said Sri Lanka was already home to 21 Swedish investment projects. (The Hindu)

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