Govt. won't abrogate S'pore-SL FTA: Bandula

International Trade and Investment Promotion Minister Bandula Gunawardana said yesterday the new government did not intend abrogate the much criticized Singapore-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement because it was an international trade pact.

“An FR has been filed against this agreement in the Supreme Court
and President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed Prof. W.D. Lakshman to study it and file a report. Therefore, the government would not abrogate the Sri Lanka-Singapore Trade Agreement immediately. Besides, It has been printed only in English and as such we must also print it in Sinhala and Tamil as required by Parliament Standing Orders,” he said

The minister said his prime concern would be to narrow the gap between exports and imports and as such would introduce drastic changes to the trade, investment and monetary policies adopted by the previous government.

“The previous regime followed a policy that ruined the local industry. They were more concerned on attacking political opponents. The abandoning of the ‘Port City’ project and deserting of many sub contractors led to loose the confidence among investors. The FCID questioned business leaders, chairmen and directors of various companies compelling them to leave the country and that affected the economy badly,” he said.

The minister said he would try to resolve issues pertaining to the economy, investment and trade in a non-vengeful manner.

"The government is confident of a majority in Parliament and has the support of 104 MPs at present, Minister S.B. Dissanayaka said.

He said Mr. Ranil Wickremesinhe's struggle right now was not to secure the premiership but to be the leader of the opposition and leader of the UNP.

The minister said those who left the UPFA camp were in contact with the UPFA leadership to come back and that he was confident that former minister Rishad Bathiudeen would support Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“I believe we can rope in three more UNP members. But some members of our camp do not like them. That is the delay. The UNP right now has only the support of 98 members. The TNA and the JVP would not vote in favour of making Ranil Prime Minister. Anyhow, if the TNA supported Ranil, it will be fragmented into three fractions,” the minister said. (Sandun A Jayasekera)