In a bid to mitigate the impact on the country’s economy by the UK’s exit from the European Union, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Committee for the compilation of a preliminary report as to how to strengthen the country’s relations in the Asian region.
Premier Wickremesinghe participating in a UNP membership promotion campaign at the Galle Urban Council Auditorium yesterday, stressed that the country’s relations with Asian countries should be broadened.
“No sooner the UK decided to leave the EU, I received a report from the Central Bank on the impact it may have on the global economy and Sri Lankan economy. We have to be mindful of this situation. We cannot depend only on the US and Europe. We have discussed an Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement with India. International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama is to visit India to discuss it,” he said.
“Those supporting the Rajapaksa regime said those agreements were not necessary. They shouted at us and organised protest rallies. What would have happened to us, had not we acted with foresight? We have no place to go when the UK leaves the EU market. In the nick of time, we had made arrangements for four main agreements with Asia,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the Committee he appointed to recommend medium and long term measures to improve the country’s relations in Asia, includes some officials of his ministry and some selected representatives outside it.
“Charitha Ratwatte is the convener of the Committee while Treasury Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, National Policy Planning Ministry Advisor Paskaralingam, Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Arjuna Mahendran, Dr. Saman Kelegama, Presidential Advisor Sarath Rajakaruna, Krishan Dissanayake, Sirimal Abeyratne, Nishan de Mel, Murtaza Jafferjee and Anushka Wijesinghe are its members,” he said.
“The economic agreements with China, India, Japan and Korea are important for our way forward. We can include this as a part of our foreign policy. Once the above mentioned Committee submits the report, we will discuss its content with the private sector, university lecturers, specialists, and other relevant stakeholders. Then I will discuss it with the President and the Cabinet and take a decision,” he said.