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EU, ITC to boost competitiveness of Sri Lankan SMEs

ECONOMYNEXT – The European Union is to fund a project to help increase the competitiveness of Sri Lankan small and medium-sized enterprises, and increase exports with the help of the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The project, for which the EU is giving 8 million euro (Rs1.3 billion), was discussed during a meeting between Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Paul Godfrey and Executive Director of the ITC Arancha González held today in Colombo.

“Central to the meeting was the upcoming launch of a trade project, which sets out boost Sri Lanka’s potential as a regional and international trading partner,” an EU statement said.

Increasing exports and trade is a vital part of the government’s strategy for economic growth and job creation in Sri Lanka,” Godfrey said. “The EU is working with ITC to support those aims by bringing international experience and best practice to Sri Lanka to identify ways in which the country can fulfil its potential as an important trading partner in the region and beyond."

The project, which will be implemented by ITC, has been developed in close partnership with the government of Sri Lanka under the leadership of the Department of Commerce.

A joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations, ITC is the only international organisation fully dedicated to supporting the internationalisation of SMEs.

ITC will help Sri Lanka integrate policies and WTO regulatory reforms, and ensure the country’s SMEs make the most of the potential opportunities resulting from the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus, the EU said.

“The project, is implemented in partnership with UNIDO, which will address compliance standards and efficiencies in-cross border procedures,” the statement said.

“It will also increase the competitiveness of value chains in the spice, food, information technologies and business process outsourcing sectors.”

 “Sri Lanka has risen steadily to become a regional trade and business hub,” González said. “This support from the EU will enable us step up work on trade policy, trade facilitation, quality and value-chain development to boost the competitiveness of Sri Lankan SMEs.”
(COLOMBO, Oct 11, 2016)

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