Minister Rishad Bathiudeen (centre) at opening of WTO’s Colombo session “Trade Led Development in the Multilateral Trading System” joined by Head of WTO Development Division Shishir Priyadarshi (right) and Director General of Commerce Sonali Wijeratne (left)
Sri Lanka announced that it is seeking special and differential treatment for its agricultural and even service exports under WTO and the WTO-Lankan Trade Policy Review will take place in early November, said the apex global trade regulator yesterday.
“Being a small and vulnerable economy and a net food importing developing country, Sri Lanka is faced with special circumstances that call for special needs. Sri Lanka is vigorously pursuing flexibility for special products and special safeguard mechanisms,” said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen addressing WTO’s Colombo session.
‘Trade Led Development in the Multilateral Trading System,’ conducted with the Department of Commerce, opened at Colombo Hilton, involves in-depth studies of various trade aspects of WTO regime. Joining the session were such heavyweights as the Head of WTO Development Division Shishir Priyadarshi and United Nations ESCAP Trade Policy and Analysis Chief, Dr.Mia Mikic.
Of Sri Lanka’s total annual exports, agricultural exports claim around 22 percent. However, the share and value of agricultural exports has improved only marginally since 2011. The US$ 2.45 billion agri-exports in 2011 increased slightly by 2015 at US$2.46 billion. “Sri Lanka’s delegation in Geneva is very active” said Head of WTO Development Division Shishir Priyadarshi, and added, “Sri Lanka also leads the Asia Pacific Group in WTO. WTO’s Sri Lanka Trade Policy Review is taking place in early November and I am pleased to say that there is much advanced preparation in this regard.”