Sri Lanka owes US$ 65 bn to global debtors | Daily News

Sri Lanka owes US$ 65 bn to global debtors

Minister Bathiudeen addressing the fourth review session of the Trade Policies and Practices of Sri Lanka at the Trade Policy Review in Geneva.


Sri Lanka owes its global debtors $65 billion while the lower tariffs have brought in formidable challenges, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said in Geneva at the fourth review of the trade policies and practices of Sri Lanka yesterday.

Sri Lanka also seeks flexibilities as well as Special and Differential Treatments during future WTO negotiations-and any tariff adjustments are only a temporary measure, he said.

“Despite Sri Lanka’s commitments to trade liberalisation, a lower tariff structure has forced formidable challenges to the government in particular to the revenue sources”

“Developing its infrastructure to increase its economic potential has resulted Sri Lanka’s reliance on foreign debt. The official estimate of what Sri Lanka currently owes its financiers is $65 billion.

The country’s debt-to-GDP currently stands around 75% and significant portion of all government revenue is currently going towards debt repayment.” “As a result of this, the government started experiencing fiscal difficulties to meet with country’s development and rehabilitating needs.While appreciating recent outcomes of multilateral negotiations , Sri Lanka looks forward to effective implementations of the decisions reached at this Ministerial.” “Flexibilities through Special and Differential Treatments have been widely recognised for smaller economies during the DDA process.

Sri Lanka seeks such flexibilities and Special and Differential Treatments during the process of WTO future negotiations. “With regard to tariffs, Sri Lanka’s bound commitments made to WTO are relatively at a lower level in both agriculture and non-agriculture products.

With regard to applied rate, currently Sri Lanka maintains three bands tariffs at zero, 15% and 30%.

Over 56% of tariff lines are at zero duty level.”

“The global market slowdown and the fluctuation on the global demand for the commodities that Sri Lanka trades with have increased the country’s vulnerability to external pressures.

The Policy Review session was presided by the Chairperson of the Trade Policy Review Body Irene B.K. Young. 


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