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Move to make Sri Lanka more competitive:

Trade facilitation vital for exports - FCCISL President

Trade facilitation is an essential component of trade promotion and introducing new methods and facilities will enable the speedier movement of export and import cargo said President Federation of Chamber of Commerce (FCCISL) Kosala Wickremanayake.

He was speaking at a workshop on “Benchmarking Sri Lanka’s Trade Facilitation Systems and Processes” jointly organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the FCCISL.

He said that Sri Lanka has been one of the pioneers having introduced facilitation in the 1980s but due to many factors its interest on this key subject suffered and the country fell behind in this effort.

However, all countries recognize the value of upgrading and improving procedures, so as to facilitate the movement and cargo, shipping and transportation.

Therefore, the FCCISL initiative of launching this program will enable Sri Lanka to be more competitive in international markets as measures will be taken to implement better procedures in respect of facilitation, in terms of export generation under the program, he said.

Advisor (Trade) Commonwealth Secretariat, UK Sujeevan Perera said that the current global trends such as credit crisis, recession, collapse of the Doha Development Round, fall in commodity prices and unstable oil prices will be great challenges to exporters in developing countries and even giant countries suffer and therefore facilitation is vital.

As such the Commonwealth Secretariat has appointed CrimsonLogic, a leading Singaporean Consultancy Company to conduct this program.

The project will advise the Government of Sri Lanka on the steps needed to bring the country’s trade facilitation systems and processes up to the best practice standard.

The main outputs for the project will be a trade facilitation benchmarking study and a strategy to address the weaknesses identified in the current systems and processes. The anticipated outcomes are reduction in bureaucratic and business delays, introduction of simplified and harmonized customs procedures, improved service levels from Government trade related agencies in the trade logistic supply chain and improvement in the global competitiveness rankings assigned to Sri Lanka in the short to medium term.


Highlights

* According to the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, indicators measuring the at-the-border and behind-the-border trade policy performance outcome, Sri Lanka is ranked 92nd out of 150.

* Sri Lanka has invested heavily in upgrading its ports, improving telecommunications infrastructure, electronic declarations for customs transactions and steps to improve the business and regulatory regime.

 

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