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Commonwealth Secretariat to assist SL trade facilitation

The Head Table at the Media Conference on Benchmarking Sri Lanka’s Trade Facilitation Systems and Processes. From left: Vice President, FCCISL, Kumar Mallimarachchi, Advisor (Trade), Commonwealth Secretariat, UK, Sujeevan Perera, President, FCCISL, Kosala Wickramanayake, Chief Guest, Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G L Peiris, Snr. Consultant, FCCISL, J Savanadasa, Consulting Manager, CrimsonLogic Pte Ltd, Singapore, Kwek Hwai Wee, Consultant, CrimsonLogic Hansen Choo and Senior Vice President, FCCISL, Tissa Jayaweera.

Trade facilitation is very important for the economy of Sri Lanka and the exercise undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) is appropriate and timely, said Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof G L Peiris. He was speaking at a press briefing held at Taj Samudra Hotel to explain the purpose and modalities of trade facilitation.

President, FCCISL Kosala Wickramanayake said that trade facilitation is an essential component of trade promotion and such facilitation involves many systems and processes. He said that Sri Lanka has been one of the pioneers in introducing facilitation way back in 1980s, but the interest on this key subject suffered and have fallen behind in the efforts to introduce new methods and facilities that would ultimately enable the speedier movement of export and import cargo.

Prof Peiris said that he deeply appreciated the interest of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the decision of supporting this program in order to stimulate the innovative thinking on systems and procedures to take stock, identify shortcomings and recommendation.

He said that looking back to the country's history, at the time of receiving independence, Sri Lanka had one of the strongest economies and the per capita income was the highest in the region, way ahead of such countries like Thailand, Korea etc., and slightly below Japan.

He said that subsequently the country underwent problems like the ethnic strife which prevented progress.

He said that now this problem has completely been resolved and a new page is being turned in the annals of Sri Lankan history. He said that the time is appropriate to address the problem of rebuilding the economy. Therefore the area of trade facilitation would be a practical project and the country's strongest advantage is its natural resources and this advantage should be optimally used.

Advisor (Trade) Commonwealth Secretariat Sujeevan Perera said that the Commonwealth Secretariat is celebrating their 60th anniversary and it is a celebration in diversity. He said it is a unique family of 53 developing and developed nations covering two billion people or 30 percent of the world population. Their mission and mandate is to foster peace, democracy, equality and good governance and to be a catalyst for global consensus building and a source of assistance for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

He said that Debt Management, Economic and Legal, Enterprise and Agriculture and Trade come under their Special Advisory Division and the present project is dealt with by that division.

Commonwealth Secretariat has entrusted the Technical Assistance to Benchmark Sri Lanka's Trade Facilitation Systems and Processes Project to CrimsonLogic Pte Ltd, Singapore and Kwek Hwai Wee, Consulting Manager of the company elaborated how the project will be implemented.

He said their company delivers world-class eGovernment solutions by leveraging on best-practice and technologies, quality human capital and global experiences.



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