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Leading apparel exporter backs free trade deal
09
Jun '10
A leading exporter from Sri Lanka, already having its footprints in India, has extended its assistance to ink a fresh business deal, while fleshing out a 10-year-old agreement, to further unleash trade amidst both the countries.

Effort to materialize the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ILFTA), to establish it as a new Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), has been delayed on account of protectionist business interests and protests, by a handful of political leaders, against it.

Pursuant to the original ILFTA, the two countries have placed a whole host of goods, already sold and with heavy duty imposition, in a 'negative list'. As also, India instead of directly putting them on the 'negative list' has imposed quotas on other items like apparels.

Mahesh Amalean, Chief of MAS, a leading garment exporter, while speaking at a business meet in Colombo said that, even prior to the free trade agreement, Sri Lanka was dealing with India, but the agreement has helped simplify things.

He further said that, they were looking forward to the expansion of the deal and dissolution of other restrictions. In spite, of the awkward dialogues, the deal had finally advanced. Also, few constraints of the earlier deal would be vindicated in CEPA.

Amante, an exclusive lingerie brand of MAS is sold in India. Nonetheless, even if the national tariffs on imports are done away with, other exporters are troubled, as they will still have to bear the burden of taxes imposed by their respective states. The deal even contains a specific provision to restrict specific goods to some peculiar ports.

However, Ashok Kantha, Indian ambassador in Colombo, said that, as compared with Sri Lanka, India has fewer items in the 'negative list' under the original deal but yet, the trade is expanding.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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