The Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal, a dedicated platform for trade related regulatory information on imports and exports, was launched on the 20th of July 2018. The Trade Information Portal aims to facilitate Sri Lanka’s way of doing business while fulfilling commitments of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, relating to information available online.
Hosted by the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the National Trade Facilitation Committee and developed with the support from the World Bank Group and Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka, the portal is expected to help improve the predictability and transparency of the country’s business environment by providing foreign and domestic business community and investors with quick and timely access to trade rules and regulations. It brings for the first time in Sri Lanka’s international trade history, the trade related regulatory information of 42 government agencies into one platform.
The portal is the latest government initiative to increase access to information relating to cross-border trade and will house existing trade regulations and procedures such as laws, administrative procedures, guidance notes, relevant application forms, licenses, permits, and applicable fees in the three official languages of Sri Lanka – English, Sinhalese and Tamil. As a single, easily searchable platform, the portal aims to save time and operational costs, especially for small and medium enterprises interested or involved in import, export and transit businesses.
Some of the portal’s other features include:
• An overview of Sri Lanka’s economy, business startup process, import and export guide, as well as information on special economic areas, export processing zones, cross-border trade and on GSP automation;
• Information on international, regional and bilateral trade agreements to which Sri Lanka is a party, including applicable rules and requirements as well as associated benefits;
• A selection of websites of international organizations and institutions that can bring further support to overseas business expansion and tools allowing exporters to perform trade potential analysis, desk research and market surveys.
The Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka is committed to closely coordinating with the public and private sector as well as international organizations to ensure effective use of the portal.
The portal will also help stakeholders identify the complexity of existing regulations and procedures when applied to commodities and to suggest areas of modernization and simplification. The Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal is a major step towards further improving the business environment in Sri Lanka.