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Sri Lanka trade concession use seen inadequate

ECONOMYNEXT – The use of trade concessions such as the European Union’s GSP scheme by Sri Lankan exporters is inadequate possibly owing to lack of awareness and insufficient value addition under rules of origin (ROO) criteria, an official said.

“Our department issues about 500 ROO certificates per day and we provide a one day service,” said Sonali Wijeratne, Director General of the Department of Commerce.

“But the utilization rates of GSP by exporters varies. In some items there’s 100% utilization but in some it’s zero or 12-24%. There may be ROO problems.”

Products that are wholly obtained in Sri Lanka, like things produced naturally within country where there’s more value addition such as tea and spices face zero duty anyway and don’t need GSP, she told a forum on the European Union GSP+ trade concession.

But products not wholly produced in the country where imported inputs are used required a certain degree of domestic value addition to qualify for the trade concessions.

“It may be because of non-eligibility owing to rules of origin criteria. These  may be not as stringent as believed but it could be a fault in our value addition,” she told the forum for exporters held by European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka in partnership with the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Shippers Academy.
“To qualify for GSP, rules of origin compliance is fundamental,” said Wijeratne. “The ROO shows the extent of diversity. Some products have 30% value addition, some need changing the HS (Harmonized System, a Customs classification) code heading.”
(COLOMBO, March 03, 2017)

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