ITC meets Min of Trade to present e certificate of origin system for SL exporters


Nalin Fernando, Minister of Trade, Commerce and Food Security in Colombo was presented the new Electronic Certificate of Origin (eCoO) system by the International Trade Centre (ITC) team, led by Ms. Raghad Altalli, Programme Manager and Trade Facilitation Advisor.

The new eCoO system, implemented by the Department of Commerce (DoC), is a fully digital solution that would revolutionize trade by simplifying and significantly accelerating the issuance of Preferential Certificates of Origin, which are crucial in determining the origin of goods and their eligibility for
preferential treatment under all trade agreements.

During her weeklong visit to Sri Lanka Ms. Altalli met with the Hon. Nalin Fernando in the context of the Trade Facilitation for SMEs project, implemented by the ITC, a joint agency of UN and WTO, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

On March 27 th , the Department of Commerce went fully digital under the ISFTA – the India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. The eCoO system has achieved an impressive 94% reduction in the total time required to obtain a CoO and has cut down on the processing time to only 30 minutes.

Furthermore, the new system eliminates all processing costs, making it a highly efficient and cost- effective solution for exporters, who no longer need to travel to DoC or banks and can complete the process online without printing any documents.

Fernando expressed his appreciation for the eCoO system, which will significantly benefit exporters and the DoC officials. He said, "I am pleased to see the implementation of the eCoO system, which is a game-changer for Sri Lankan exporters. It is a significant step towards improving trade
facilitation in the country and promoting economic growth."

The eCoO system was developed in response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, subsequent economic crisis, and fuel crisis, which made it difficult for exporters to travel and be physically present at the DoC for documentation purposes. This innovative solution will enable Sri
Lankan exporters to obtain CoOs without any hassle, saving them considerable time and money.

In addition to the eCoO system, ITC and GIZ are working with the Export Development Board (EDB), the National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS), and the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) to automate processes, develop new systems, issue certifications and implement ePayment gateways.

The trade facilitation for SMEs project will continue to support and empower SMEs to increase their participation in international trade and strengthen Sri Lanka's economy.

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