Sri Lanka to remove barriers for entrepot trade: Finance Minister

Sept 05, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister says the government expects more foreign investment that would promote export oriented business inclusive of entrepot trade.

Speaking at the ninth session of the Ease of Doing Business forum, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said Sri Lanka wants foreign debt to be replaced by investment which is the policy of the government.

“Entrepot trade is one area that will be promoted with all necessary facilities and all irritants that are there on its way will be removed,” Karunanayake said, referring to warehousing and transshipment.

Several businessman who participated at the forum said that the facilities offered by the banks, SLPA and the Sri Lanka Customs on entrepot trade is costly for them to engage in that trade.

Karunanayake said the process is underway to wipe out the trade distortions ensuring level playing field for businesses.

“Trade distortions where one party is given concessions and the other party being provided with protectionism should be taken out of business when the country is fully transformed into manufacturing economy.”

Trade with Iran

The Central Bank Governor replying to a question on facilitating trade with Iran said that some sanctions on certain items have been revoked and the tea is one such item that could be now exported to Iran.

Governor however added that though tea export does not come under the US sanctions, the ban on financial transaction has not yet been lifted.

“CB officials in Washington had already approached the US officials in this regard,” Indrajith Coomaraswamy said.

“According to the Central Bank of Iran there is a possibility for transaction of money through the Central Bank of Italy.”

The Governor asserted that once the ongoing discussions with US officials and the officials of the Italy bank is completed it could be possible to pave the way for the transaction under the normal SWIFT arrangements.

Ease of Doing is the forum where grievances of the businessmen are addressed with on the spot solutions provided by the state institution and officials present there.