The Director General of Commerce is now empowered to drop the hammer on any activity, which is tantamount to dumping of goods, and take tougher action on such violations under the law enacted with the passage of ‘Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties Act No.2 of 2018 and Safeguard Measures Act No.3 of 2018, brought in by the previous administration.
To this end, Minister of Industries Wimal Weerawansa has informed the Cabinet of Ministers that the Director General of Commerce as the sole authority to act on violations stipulated in the said Acts.
“…the Cabinet of Ministers has taken into account the information brought forward by the Minister of Industries indicating that the Director General of Commerce is eligible for acting to avoid any unfavourable circumstances caused to local industries under the said two Acts as the proper authority,” the Cabinet Office said.
The two Acts are effective from October 19, 2020, according to a government gazette.
For a long time, Sri Lanka’s trade reform agenda lacked anti-dumping laws and perhaps the two laws were among the few of the accomplishments by the previous Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.
The absence such laws allowed scrupulous dealers and traders to have a field day for nearly forty years dumping anything and everything killing a number of local industries.
Sri Lanka has a massive negative trade balance with China.
Minister Weerawansa appears to be on crusade to promote local production to create a strong industrial base for the country. He recently revived the long-abandoned Valachchanai Paper Mill. The government is also close to inking a deal for Kantale Sugar Factory.
A domestic industrial resurgence will enable Sri Lanka to gradually ease the current restrictions on imports of some of the non-essential goods, paving the way for free and fair trade.