Sri Lanka to host regional trade forum

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Oct 12, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will host the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF), a platform to promote regional trade and share information, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said. “South Asia is a region that has many benefits to reap through improved trade facilitation,” the Chamber said in a statement.

“This region still remains one of the world’s least integrated in the world. Intra-regional trade has been stagnating around 4-5 percent in the past decade.

“Studies have revealed that that the South Asian region’s expansion of trade can be substantially advanced with programmes of concrete action in order to address barriers to trade facilitation and thereby advance regional goals.”

Critics have noted that Sri Lanka has failed to make much headway in trade liberalization particularly with India in recent years with big business production interests blocking trade liberties of the people by directing the coercive power of the state against them.

Critics say South Asia was kept in poverty by states that stole the trade freedoms of the people with protectionism, import licensing, violated their property rights through nationalization and currency depreciation