Two leading experts from World Trade Organization (WTO) are now in Colombo for today’s pioneering session by the Department of Commerce to work on one of the most technically-demanding barriers for Lankan exporters-- Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures or in simpler terms, quarantining and technical barriers.
The WTO experts from Geneva joining the session are its Trade and Environment Counsellor Erik Wijkstrom and its Economic Affairs Officer Roshan Khan.
The agricultural exports of the country is the sector greatly impacted by SPS. Around 22 percent of Sri Lanka’s annual exports are agricultural, at US $ 2.5 billon.
With increasing trade among WTO members, comes growing health concerns about goods crossing their borders.
It has been two decades since SPS was introduced to global trade (by WTO in 1995 and sections of global trade stress that there is a tendency of SPS becoming a non-tariff barrier (NTB) and a hidden protection from competition, in international trade.
Today’s session in Colombo is not targeted only at Lankan exporters but also aimed at Sri Lankan officials and other experts involved in SPS measures for export products.
The session is expected to assist participants towards a close scrutiny of the measures and how to adopt them.