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Trade Facilitation Trainings Conducted for Members of the NTFC and the Private Sector in Sri Lanka

  • Excessive border regulations, administrative barriers to trade, and lack of coordination among border authorities are expensive and hinder growth. SMEs are heavily affected by these procedures as they lack the means and capacity to comply with complex and often expensive rules. Two workshops delivered by ITC on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) were held in Colombo on the 19th, 20th and 24th & 25th April 2017 respectively. One workshop was held for members of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) with 34 participants in attendance, including 14 women and 11 private sector representatives. This workshop was jointly delivered with the UNCTAD. The other workshop was for the participation of private sector representatives, where of the 26 participants who attended, 5 were women and 21 were private sector representatives.

    The responses of the participants regarding the two workshops were overwhelmingly positive with participants indicating that they found the quality of the workshops, the content of the programmes, as well as the presenters’ knowledge of the subject matter to be very strong.

    National Trade Facilitation Workshop for members of the NTFC

    The objective of this training workshop was to build the capacity of the Technical Members of the NTFC on the Trade Facilitation Agreement; its importance to enhance the international attractiveness of the Sri Lanka economy and to improve business competitiveness. This training also provided to the participants a detailed review of the legal and operational requirements under the Trade Facilitation Agreement so that they could better assess their levels of compliance with the obligations arising from the World Trade Organisation.

    The participants elaborated that the workshop strongly contributed to their understanding of the concept of trade facilitation and how facilitation of trade can address trade related costs. It was further indicated that the workshop further conferred knowledge to all those involved of the key principles of the Trade Fair Agreement and the economic benefit of trade facilitation reforms.

    The discussions held as part of the workshops also contributed to the participants understanding of requirements arising from each of the measures of the TFA, guidelines and practices in strengthening of NTFCs, as well as the guidelines and best practices for mobilisation of the private sector in the design, implementation and monitoring of trade facilitation reforms.

    National Trade Facilitation Workshop for The Private Sector in Sri Lanka

    Among the objectives of this workshop was to enable participants to identify the measures in the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that help resolve cross border inefficiencies, to benefit from the strategies and measures stipulated in the TFA for Sri Lanka and to determine how to become part of the regulatory and implementation process of the TFA.

    Participants strongly indicated that the workshop had built their awareness of the TFA and how it can be of benefit to their businesses now that they are much better equipped to participate in public-private dialogues in relation to efficient implementation of the TFA.

    The contribution of the workshop to capacity building of the participants was clearly understood by participant responses. The participants from trade and support institutions indicated overwhelmingly that the workshop had contributed to improving their operational and managerial performance in relation to trade. The contribution of the workshop to participants representing SMEs was also clear with participants strongly indicating that the workshop and the consultative process had inculcated in them the intention to implement changes to improve their business practices with the view of expanding their exports.

    Both workshops worked in synergy to holistically address issues in the implementation of the TFA and helped to illustrate the responsibilities of the private and public sector in actions that contribute to the efficient implementation of the TFA.

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