Develop a National Policy on International Trade Agreements prior to signing any Agreement
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His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Necessity of a National Policy on International Trade Agreements for Sri Lanka
Despite having no National Policy on Trade Agreements, the government has declared that they intend to sign the proposed Bilateral Trade Agreement with India.
A trade agreement should be formulated ensuring the safety of the national security and its people and integrity of the country. In the meantime, it should be beneficial to both the country in general and the people individually. In contrast, the current Indo –Lanka Trade Agreement has failed to provide any benefits to Sri Lanka and surprisingly the parties involved in endorsing and drafting the previous trade agreement seem to hold no accountability for this failure. The Infamous deal “Hedging” is another example where Sri Lanka has lost so much that the economy of the country may have to suffer for years to come. The general public ultimately become the victims, paying unbearable taxes to compensate for the losses.
The existing Unilateral Trade Agreements have opened the doors to many opportunities for Indians in Sri Lanka. As with the nature of the above agreements the Sri Lankan citizens can seek justice through the Sri Lankan Judicial System, in any event where injustice is caused by the employed Indians. In contrast, the legislation of Bilateral Trade Agreements would extend beyond our judicial system, threatening the safety of our citizen’s rights. The only way to overcome any dispute of a Bilateral Trade Agreement is a complex and costly arbitration process. This process is guided by the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This will be a daunting task for a country like Sri Lanka, as it will require technical expertise which comes at a large cost. A good example of this is of the process involved in resolution of the Hedging Deal, where it was evident that Sri Lanka was not equipped to engage legally, technically or financially in such an ordeal.
Thus here we strongly emphasize the importance of a National Policy on Trade Agreement for Sri Lanka prior to signing such bilateral trade agreements which jeopardize the security of our nation.
Thereby we propose the following five step approach,
- First step - Review the existing Trade Agreements and Revise them to benefit the country
- Second step - Safeguard National Interest - Establish a National Policy
- Third step - Safeguard Sector Interest and Sector Safety
- Fourth step - Qualify and Quantify the Expected Outcome
- Fifth Step - Ensure Basic Principles of the Process
This process will ensure continuous development of Sri Lankan economy through trade agreements between other nationalities.
As a leader who inspires to build the nation through principals rather than arbitrary decisions, we believe that you will consider our request to,
- Establish a responsible authority or commission to formulate and analyze International Trade Agreements.
- Develop a National Policy for International Trade Agreements through the established authority
- Delay the Indo – Lanka Service Trade Agreement till such policies are developed
Cc: Reverend Clergy of all Religious denominations
Hon. Prime Minister
All Parliament Members
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