The National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Bank will convene a two-day workshop from 11 -12 October at the Galle Face Hotel.
The workshop will help to prioritise the reforms required to implement the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). It will also focus on coordinating implementation of the TFA.
Operationalising the TFA will have a positive impact on the private sector. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are likely to benefit the most as the TFA would ease access to international markets and increase ease of cross border trade. Economic growth and more job opportunities are expected as a direct result of the increase in international trade.
This workshop follows a mandate by the NTFC Secretariat to develop a detailed action plan for the implementation of Sri Lanka’s Category B and C commitments under the TFA. Technical assistance is provided by the ITC and the World Bank.
Technical assistance for this project by ITC is carried out under the ‘EU – Sri Lanka trade-related assistance: Increasing SMEs trade competitiveness in regional and EU markets’, a project funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Centre.
The workshop will be inaugurated by the EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Tung-Lai Margue, the ITC, the World Bank, members of the NTFC and other Trade Facilitation Stakeholders.
Commenting on the EU’s commitment to increasing Sri Lanka’s trade competitiveness, Tung-Lai Margue stated: “Operationalisation of the TFA will simplify international import and export procedures. It will increase possibilities for SMEs to participate in global value chains and optimise Sri Lanka’s chances of increasing rapidly export revenue through international trade.”
The World Bank stated: “By improving access to enabling infrastructure and cutting costly and cumbersome procedures, Sri Lankan enterprises, especially small and medium enterprises, will be able to reach the international markets faster and at a lower cost. The workshop will help identify specific procedures and systems and areas of infrastructure support which will make this possible.”
The TFA implementation plan requires that members of the NTFC and other Trade Facilitation stakeholders in Sri Lanka agree on the reforms to be prioritised. It is also important that operational mechanisms are adopted to ensure effective coordination between border agencies working simultaneously on the common aspects of the TFA.