Sri Lanka, India set to conclude ETCA in April

Hot on the heels of signing the Free Trade Agreement ( FTA) with Thailand , Sri Lanka is now planning to conclude talks on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India within the next couple of months while resuming talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in April, an informed source said.

There is simmering tension against the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India in some quarters . 
Sri Lankan professional categories remain wary of opening up the service sector fearing that the possible influx of Indian professionals will keep their jobs at stake .

Sri Lanka resumed talks on the ETCA last year after a hiatus of five years. The 13th round of talks was held in January, this year. The informed source said the next round will be conducted in Colombo between March 10 and 12 with the aim of finalizing negotiations towards the end of April so that the agreement can be signed as early as possible after Cabinet clearance .

Asked about the service sector, the source said India sought the opening up of it but Sri Lanka declined to do it as far as professional categories such as medicine and engineering are concerned.

In a move to allay the fears of the Sri Lankan professionals, the government is planning to engage with organizations such as the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) soon ahead of the next round of talks.