Lankan Trade Information Portal launched | Daily News
1000 export processing villages to be formed:

Lankan Trade Information Portal launched

Ananda Dharmapriya, Denis Chaibi,Dr. Dayaratna Silva, and Dr. Bandula Gunawardena. Picture by Dinesh Perera
Ananda Dharmapriya, Denis Chaibi,Dr. Dayaratna Silva, and Dr. Bandula Gunawardena. Picture by Dinesh Perera

The Sri Lankan Trade Information Portal was launched yesterday. The portal hopes to provide importers and exporters with trade-related information that is curated by the Department of Commerce under the Trade Ministry and the International Trade Centre.

The portal’s design and functionality are to suit the government’s trade policy which is centred around the upliftment of rural livelihoods through international trade in primary products.

Minister of Trade Dr Bandula Gunawardane said, “This (portal) would facilitate international commerce by SMEs at a lower cost. The Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal is key to the improvement of theease of doing business. It is key to the implementation of the WTO plan.”Gunawardane was speaking at the launch of the Trade Information Portal yesterday at the Shangri La hotel. The portal is available at; www.srilankatradeportal.gov.lk.

The Trade Ministry is to create 1,000 export processing villages that target primary industries like agriculture and fishing. Dr Gunawaradane noted that with the portal it would be easier to bring rural production into the formal world of international trade. The trade ministry is working in line with the government’s aim to increase import substitution but shall also facilitatethe reduction in non-tariff barriers to trade. Dr Guanawardane said, “It is time to reassess the need for our regulatory framework. My discussions with the ITC in both Geneva and Colombo showed me the excellent work they do that helps the business community. My ministry is committed to facilitating the step by step information of this project.”

Dr Gunawardane noted that he intended to increasingly place the functioning of the department of commerce under the hands of technocrats.The creation of the trade information was helped with financing by the European Union. The implementation of the portal follows the requirement to place trade information online under article 1.2 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement that Sri Lanka signed.Head of the European Union delegation to Sri Lanka Denis Chiabi said that the trade portal had been designed to help agricultural exporters access European markets.

He noted the high standard-based barriers to trade in the European market.Chiabi noted that Sri Lanka’s trade restrictions were warranted given the economic fallout of the pandemic but was concerned with a lack of a timeline on the lifting of restrictions. Chiabi was of the view that a ban on banks facilitating trade was in effect a ban on trade.

Trade Officer International Trade Centre Dr Mohammad Saeed said that he had complete confidence in the Trade Ministry facilitating additional products and creating a framework that is easier for imports and exports. National Project Co-Ordinator Dr Dayaratna Silva noted that the trade portal was formulated in the governments ‘Saubhagyaye Dekma’ vision.