Sri Lanka told India ready for common standards to smoothen trade

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 05, 2010 (LBO) – India is ready to improve access for Sri Lankan goods and services to its markets by creating mechanisms like common standards and recognizing professional certifications, an Indian diplomat said. “Often, it is stated that the FTA did not address non-tariff barriers (NTBs) which restrict market access to India. Of course it did not.”

Misri said it was the first FTA for both countries and both learnt what worked and what did not.

“We realized for example that we needed to get closer cooperation going between the Customs Departments of the two countries so that transparency and predictability and even facilitation could be ensured.

“We realized that we needed to remove discretion with the authorities by having water tight arrangements on testing and certification as well as sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards.”

Misri said that it is often not recognized that 90 percent of the NTBs exist because of lack of harmonization and agreements between countries.

“This can also help improvement in the regulatory standards in the two countries, which is often an issue in Sri Lanka when we talk of the FTA.” “India is willing to set up mechanisms that facilitate the increased presence