Afro Factor

August 19, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka™s apparel exports to the United States could get hit if African countries block proposed tariff cuts on exports from developing countries.

Bulk of Sri Lanka™s trade falls under World Trade organization rules an international body that is working to put in place a rule based global trading system.

Tariffs continue to be a significant barrier in world trade. Under the WTO™s last Doha round of negotiations, countries worked out modalities for getting greater market access for non-agricultural goods from developing countries.

Called NAMA or Non-Agricultural Market Access, this agreement covers all products not covered by agricultural agreements at the WTO. Among the proposals are to bring down developing country tariffs for 16 apparel tariff lines.

Sri Lanka™s top negotiator says however, opposition by African countries to the proposed tariff cuts could block potential gains for Sri Lanka under NAMA.

Currently, African countries have duty free access into the US, while other comparatively richer countries like Sri Lanka pay heavy duties to access the lucrative US market.

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