Travel goods from Sri Lanka to enjoy duty free access to US
Sri Lanka has been named as one of the countries that will enjoy duty free access of travel goods to US. This came as a result of a decision by United States to allow travel goods from GSP beneficiary countries. Under the expansion of the GSP scheme Sri Lanka will now be able to export items such as Wallets, Bags and backpacks to the US market, a feat which previously attracted 6% – 20% tariff.
The exemption comes at a time when Sri Lanka is increasingly trying to ramp up its production economy as well as the exports sector to improve foreign currency inflow. The duty-free access granted provides a unique opportunity for interested parties, a potential industry with an already secured marketplace.
Also, by utilization of the duty-free access Sri Lanka possesses the potential to once more become one of the top 10 suppliers to the US market. Ministry of foreign affairs in a released statement commented that ““The inclusion of travel goods in the GSP is expected to help US travel goods brands and retailers to broaden sourcing options for these products.”
Production of travel goods currently remain an industry that is in the SME level. These industries employ many families directly on a grassroot level and thus play key roles in rural economies. Also, there is definite potential in creating more jobs for people within a community who can contribute to the travel goods manufacturing industry.
Also, it is expected that the US companies that choose to operate within Sri Lanka will also have the option to distribute to India and China as well as any other countries that Sri Lanka holds Free Trade Agreements.
This has the potential to become a catalyst to attract more investment as an industry and create a strong industry within Sri Lanka.
Although a positive move by the US towards Sri Lanka, the onus has now shifted to the Sri Lankan producers of travel goods to take actions. Delays or failure to capitalize on the opportunity would mean many other countries who have been extended the same free access would gain bigger market share.
Sri Lanka needs to seek investments into the industry and the granting of free access goes some way to establish a secured marketplace which the investors would find enticing. However, there remains a doubt on the long-term sustainability of the industry due to non-existence of assurances that the free access is long term. As there is no agreement in place to ensure this, companies should diversify to other markets as well as attract more US based companies to operate in Sri Lanka, which will go some way to securing the long term nature of the access.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/16082017/Z_3|