New Delhi, August 4, 2012: The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Anand Sharma met the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who invited him and a group of Indian CEOs for lunch in Colombo today.
Both leaders discussed the bilateral issues and the Indian Minister briefed the President about the progress made during the key events during his visit.
Earlier during an interaction with the mediapersons Sharma said that India and Sri Lanka will cooperate for modernization and revival of closed mills in Sri Lanka and Indian textile players will establish some manufacturing units also. “Cooperation in Textiles sector is important from the perspective of both the countries as it is a major component of our economic partnership. A delegation of leading textiles industrialists will visit Sri Lanka in the first half of September” said Sharma. India is committed to give a big boost to Sri Lanka exports as they will have the preferential access given the principle of asymmetry that has been offered without any expectation of reciprocity. ‘It will be special and differential treatment that will be given. This is happening elsewhere also. This is how global production lines are created ’ said the Minister. He also announced the Indian side of the composition of the Joint Task force. Apart from the official representative there will be representation from Automobile Component Manufacturing Association(ACMA), EEPC, Pharmaxil, CII and Texprocil will be the part of the Joint Task Force.
Referring to his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Prof G L Peiris, Sharma said that both the side had substantive discussion on a range of issue including rehabilitation and resettlement of those who were displaced during the conflict over the year in Sri Lanka. Sharma said that Indian government will continue to support for building the infrastructure that is desired as a part of the process.
Replying to a query on the status of IKEA application the Minister said that there will be clarity in the guidelines and DIPP is working on the guidelines. Sharma also said “We have to remember that policy evolution is a continuous process. The policy has just been put in place and now we are learning about it. For example, the SME, once an Indian SME, are engaged with them, the definition of SME may require a change because if you are an SME, and if you have global majors taking from you… So when you are selling this kind of material to them, to a global major irrespective of xyz, then, you may not remain SME as in the present definition…. The concerned departments will discuss it. What I am saying you cannot punish a SME for performing well. This is the issue that is being discussed.”
Sharma announced that by the end of August, three more national manufacturing and investment zones will be notified taking the total number of NMIZs, to 15. Shri Sharma said that Andhra Pradesh may have one NMIZ and possibly two NMIZs will be in the state of Karnataka. ‘After this, we will focus on the establishment of these zones’ said Shri Sharma.
On a question regarding amendment in the SEZ act and reported differences with the Finance Minister, Commerce secretary, S.R. Rao said ‘As a matter of fact, there has been closure on several or most of these issues. I should say that there is cent percent meeting of mind and very soon we are going to be cabinet to seek approval’.