FTA with Singapore legal – Official | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

FTA with Singapore legal – Official

Refuting allegations levelled on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore for not following proper procedures among others, a highly placed International Trade Ministry official told the Sunday Observer that the FTA was approved by the Cabinet and was cleared by the Attorney General’s Department.

According to legal sources, Cabinet approval was sufficient prior to signing the FTA. However, the advice required that Sri Lanka should have completed domestic legal requirements which included passing of the Anti-dumping and Countervailing Act. Passing this Bill ensured that certain fortifications were laid before going into the FTA, and this has been a reason for the delay in signing the FTA, the official explained.

“For the ratification we had to ensure that the legal procedures were followed. After which we informed Singapore through the Foreign Ministry that the FTA was ready for signature, and nowhere did it stem that Parliamentary approval is needed,” the official said.

Speaking on the matter, President of the Bar Association (BASL) U. R. de Silva PC told the Sunday Observer that among many ill advantages to the country, the FTA was not approved by the Cabinet nor was it passed in Parliament.

“We have already filed papers in the Supreme Court. We were asked to participate in discussions and to give our views. However, the FTA was signed ignoring all the professionals. Our position is that Cabinet approval was not obtained and it was not put to Parliament as well,” de Silva said.

Concerns are also raised pertaining to the local professionals. He said that professionals from any country registered within Singapore will be allowed to come to Sri Lanka without any hindrance and establish themselves as service providers in the country.

The Fundamental Rights petition named the Prime Minister, members of the Cabinet, and the Attorney General as respondents.

According to a legal expert, there is no legal requirement that FTAs should be placed before Parliament before signing. However, it should be placed before Parliament afterwards for formal ratification.

 

 

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