S’pore-SL FTA in force, says Harsha

A Presidential Commission probing the Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA did not mean that the agreement was not in force, State Minister Harsha De Silva said today.

“The Singapore Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is in force despite a probe being carried out by a Commission appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena to look into it, he said.

“I have seen a notice calling the general public to come and make deliberations on the FTA to an office opened at the BMICH.

“However, I would like to state that the agreement is still in force,” the State Minister said at a media briefing last morning.

Dr De Silva denounced the allegations made by the Opposition and some trade experts that Sri Lanka would become a garbage dump as a result of the FTA and said there were no clauses in the agreement under which importation of garbage from Singapore was allowed.

“Only thing that is done is the inclusion of a list of items that are considered as garbage,” he said.
“A similar list was included in the FTA Sri Lanka signed with Pakistan in 2005 under which human waste, clinical waste, scrap metal and tungsten are named as garbage,” the State Minister said.

Dr De Silva added that the FTA has been prepared in line with the General Agreement on Tax and Tariff (GATT) criteria, while it is also in accordance with BASEL convention under which trading of hazards waste is protected.

Meanwhile, Minister Harin Fernando who criticized the GMOA said the doctors were unnecessarily attacking the FTA.

“These doctors fail to see how the reduction of the prices of essential drugs had benefited people,” he said.