Government defends stand it took on backing UK in EU

HarshaThe Government today backed the decision it took to support the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union (EU).

Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsh de Silva said that the decision was taken in the best interest of Sri Lanka’s economy.

He said that Sri Lanka’s future has a dependence on the world economy especially since Sri Lanka is looking to export apparel to the EU under the GSP trade concession scheme to which Britain is also a member.

The British public today voted for the UK to leave the EU and as a result Sri Lanka will now need to look at having a separate trade deal with Britain.

The opposition, in Parliament today, questioned the decision taken by the Government to send a team to UK to gather the support of Sri Lankans in the UK to vote for Britain remaining in the EU.

Opposition Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena said that the Sri Lankan delegation had attempted to support British Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign but failed.

Dr. Harsh de Silva and Minister Harin Fernando as well as former Minister Rosy Senanayake met the Sri Lankan diaspora in London recently and urged them to vote in favour of keeping the UK in the EU.

The Deputy Foreign Minister said that while Sri Lanka’s efforts had failed the country will now look to sign a free trade agreement with Britain.

He said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief Parliament soon on the trade deal Sri Lanka will look to reach with Britain. (Colombo Gazette)