Sri Lanka forum promotes joint South Asian stand at trade talks

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 19, 2010 (LBO) – South Asian countries like Sri Lanka have a common interest in forging a common regional stand in world trade talks, trade experts and economists told a meeting in Colombo. “If formalities are made to delay imports it becomes a trade barrier,” Sen said.

He said South Asian countries should get together to identify and take up the issue of NTBs as trade barriers need to be removed quickly. A common approach by South Asia at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks would be better than individual counties adopting their own individual approaches, they said.

South Asian countries need access for their products in markets in developed countries as well as export of services and labour.

The regional consultation seminar on South Asian positions in the WTO Doha round was jointly organized by Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka and Consumer Unity & Trust Society.

Exporters from countries in the South Asian region face common problems in penetrating markets in developed countries such as non-tariff barriers (NTBs) like testing requirements and costly certification.

“NTBs are a common area where all South Asian countries can fight together because NTBs