Sri Lanka, India data exchange mooted to speed up trade

Oct 07, 2010 (LBO) – Trade between India and Sri Lankan could be speeded up and costs reduced by the use of pre-shipment data exchanges driven by security concerns being tested in Western economies, an expert said. The pre-shipment information exchanges are being tried in the West in response to concerns about terrorist infiltration of supply chains and to minimise physical examination of cargo that could slow down trade. Sending information on the identity of exporters and their cargo ahead of shipment enables faster Customs clearance, reducing costly delays, said Shantha A. De Silva, consultant in trade facilitation.

The time taken for clearing goods is a critical issue in trade, he told a forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank, and UNDP AsiaPacific Regional Centre, Bangkok.

De Silva suggested information exchanges being tried in Europe and the United States owing to security concerns could be used as trade facilitation measures to speed up and smoothen the flow of goods under the Indo-Lanka free trade deal.

Exporters have complained that delays caused by red tape and cargo inspection procedures nullify the advantages of eliminating import duties under the free trade de