ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has started a national trade quality initiative with United Nations and European Union aid that aims to raise products standards and reduce costs and border rejections for exporters, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.
The program is expected to help the island achieve its export target of 23 billion US dollars by next year, it said in a statement.
"The need to enhance global market access through overcoming border rejections, delays in conformity assessment, higher testing costs for the private sector, and risk management associated with border operations and e-commerce, is now experienced more and more,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
“There is no doubt that our quality infrastructure should be updated in par with global standards," he told a forum where the scheme was launched.
The National Quality Infrastructure scheme would be led by a National Quality Council, an apex cross functional agency on quality infrastructure.
Among the challenges Sri Lanka faces to enhance global market access, Bathiudeen said, are shortages in harmonised local certifications and conformity assessment, and standardized sets of practices to ensure compliance with international standards.
Transparent inspection and certification systems, and simplified trade to fulfil trade facilitation agreement requirements that relate to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade are other barriers, he said.
Also backing the effort are Geneva’s International Trade Centre, UN Industrial Development Organisation, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation, and Development and Germany's metrology institution, the PTB.
(COLOMBO, March 04, 2019-SB)