Sri Lankan exporters said not making use of free trade deals

Oct 20, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters are still not making enough use of free trade deals giving duty free or preferential access to big markets, a senior trade official said. “It appears some exporters and importers are paying a few million dollars in duty for which they are entitled to duty free access. We’re trying to find out who these exporters are to find out whether they could get the concession.” Gomi Senadhera, Director General of the Department of Commerce, said rates of utilisation of key trade deals like the Asia – Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) and South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) were low.

“Utilisation rates are not very high either because exporters are not obtaining certificates of origin from the department of commerce or because the importer is not presenting it and getting duty concessions,” he told a forum.

The seminar on free trade agreements was organized by the Spices & Allied Products Producers’ & Traders’ Association (SAPPTA) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Senadhera said APTA, previously known as the Bangkok agreement, was becoming more important as it gave exporters like SAPPTA members access to China, India and South Kore