Sri Lanka approves five-year plan to phase out para-tariffs

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of ministers has approved a five-year government plan to phase out protective tariffs that were seen as raising the cost of living for consumers, hindering international trade and protecting inefficient domestic industries.

The plan proposed by finance minister Mangala Samaraweera will phase out during 2020-2024 para-tariffs imposed to raise government revenue and protect domestic industries from imports, the state information office said in a statement.

Para-tariffs to be removed include the special commodities levy, port and airport development levy, and commodity export support cesses.

These tariffs have raised the cost of living and reduced competition that lowers productivity and efficiency of domestic industry, it said.

These tariffs are also considered a hindrance to international trade as well as to channelling investments into productive sectors, it said.

The tariffs will be phased out while ensuring protection for deserving products and industries through a system of cascading tariffs and countervailing duties to prevent imports below cost flooding the local market, the statement said.
(COLOMBO, 18 October 2019)