Sri Lanka to reach global markets through digitalization
The Morning: Sri Lanka embraces digitalization to overcome the economic crisis, paving the path to a robust, competitive, and export-driven economy. The vital focus on restructuring and empowering the private sector, particularly in trade.
During the event, the launch of the key trade facilitation initiatives in Sri Lanka, President
Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the vital role of trade in driving growth and enhancing prospects. The newly launched trade facilitation service serves as a linchpin for economic restructuring and digital advancement. Acknowledging the need for change, as the country can’t compete either with a 21st century economy or with a 20th century bureaucracy, highlighting the necessity of modern era technology. The focus now is on efficiency and reducing administrative burdens to propel rapid economic progress and empower the people.
In tandem with the new system, Sri Lanka is actively venturing into undiscovered markets. A notable stride is the application to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), a significant and expansive market opportunity.
The President acknowledged the pivotal role of trade facilitation and digital transformation as essentials to accessing the RCEP market. Engagements with India for trade arrangement upgrades further highlight the strategic approach. Equally crucial is the realisation that trade facilitation is indispensable when navigating European Union and American markets, highlighting Sri Lanka’s commitment to potent global trade dynamics.
According to the Department of Commerce (DOC), India has given the approval to precedent with the new digital system where the country-of-origin certificate is issued digitally while anticipating similar responses from partner countries. Sri Lanka’s trade operates through multiple free trade and commercial agreements, totaling seven in effect. These agreements grant preferential access, contingent upon country-of-origin certificates, facilitated by the Department of Commerce. This approach ensures beneficial trade dynamics and enhances Sri Lanka’s global economic engagement.
Moreover, DOC had been waiting for a while to enhance the issuing of country-of-origin certificates through neutralization, which became even more crucial with the impact of COVID-19, when DOC realized they should pursue the neutralization procedure with the support of the International Trade Center (ITC), they developed the digital system which supports the exporters and is a more environmentally friendly system where the DOC is able to reduce the carbon footprint of public service.
The DOC Director/General of Commerce (Actg) Gilma Dahanayake said: “I would like to request all the government agencies to join with us in this digitalization and I anticipate Sri Lanka will enter into the middle of the digitalization in every public service process.”
Sri Lanka is working towards becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region supported by the country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country. The current economic expansion in the country has opened up a host of new business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s ICT and digital infrastructure development sectors. The growth and profits recorded by the local businesses engaged in the ICT and digital infrastructure development sectors is a clear indication of the growth and business potential in the industry. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore the growing opportunities in the ICT and digital infrastructure development sectors. The incentives offered by the government to businesses interested in engaging in these key sectors are a further impetus to foreign businesses/investors looking at doing business in the country’s ICT and digital infrastructure development sectors. They could also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses engaged in ICT and digital infrastructure development sectors.
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