Sri Lanka must cut duties, ensure transparency, no corruption: EU envoy
Jul 20, 2017 17:50 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT – Reduced import duties and taxes, transparent tenders and no corruption would make Sri Lanka more attractive to foreign investors wanting to invest to take advantage of its duty free access to Europe, the European Union envoy said.
Tung Lai-Margue, EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka & the Maldives, said the impact of the GSP Plus trade concession which Sri Lanka regained would be seen in the next few months just as the lifting of the fisheries ban led to a boom in fisheries exports within months.
“The conflict had a major impact on Sri Lanka’s economy but almost eight years have passed and the time is opportune for Sri Lanka to catch up,” he told a business forum held by the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) and the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives.
In the 1990s Sri Lanka’s exports had been higher than that of Bangladesh and Vietnam but growth was slow and now was lagging behind these countries, he said.
Sri Lankan exports were still concentrated in traditional sectors and foreign investments were also limited to these sectors while south east Asian or ASEAN countries were moving to non-traditional sectors and drew larger amounts of foreign investments.
The country’s duty regime was another factor that made investments unattractive.
“Sri Lanka’s increase in duties and levies has made the cost of imports exorbitant in some sectors,” Tung Lai-Margue said. “Also Sri Lanka imports raw material and this had a negative impact on exports too. Duties and taxes need to be rationalized.”
Investors would also need streamlined procedures and a good policy framework.
“Long term visas for investors, transparent tenders, and no corruption would make Sri Lanka an even better location for investors. Work has started but decisions need to be implemented,” he said.
“Some companies want to invest to take advantage of your duty free access to the EU.”
(COLOMBO, July 20, 2017)