Sri Lanka’s import trade warns against ad hoc tax changes

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s import trade has urged the government to maintain consistent policy on taxes and duties, saying ad hoc changes affect business confidence and encourage ‘grey’ markets.

“Importers in the trade expect government policies to be more long term and consistent,” said Dinesh de Silva,, chairman of the Import Section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“The trade needs stability and confidence to make decisions investments and implement business expansion strategies. This is one of our key concerns.”

Government policy changes have a direct bearing on the import trade especially import restrictions, sudden duty and tariff changes, or effects because of bilateral or multilateral trade agreements.

De Silva said the imports sector contributes to the economy in three ways as imports can be a value added to the economy, earn revenue to the government and works as a growth facilitator.
“It’s important to note the Sri Lanka’s economy has a large import share and therefore their role remains significant to the economy,” he told the annual general meeting of the Import Section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“We have experienced situations of having ad hoc implementation of duties and taxes which have heavy impacts on businesses.”

Such changes do not give confidence for business to make long term decisions with confidence, de Silva said.

“Tariff structures in Sri Lanka must be in line with regional tariff structures as high tariffs will always create gray market activities through under-valuation and for inferior quality products to creep in to the market.”

(Colombo/July 19, 2015)





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