The Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC), in close collaboration with Sri Lanka’s National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC), is organising the first of four public-private consultations on the establishment of a National Single Window (NSW) in Sri Lanka.
The objective of these public-private consultations is to stimulate discussions and seek recommendations from border regulatory representatives and the business community on the implementation modalities of the NSW.
The event will be attended by over 70 participants representing more than 50 business associations, government agencies and trade operators. Dignitaries attending the opening ceremony will include Libuse Soukupova - the Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, chairpersons of the NTFC, the CEO of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and senior officials from ITC, Geneva.
Organised within the mandate of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade Related Assistance program, this event will be held on 5 April at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo.
As one of the fastest growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region, Sri Lanka has steadily risen to become a regional trade and logistics hub and is striving to make its economy more interconnected with regional and global markets. In line with its vision to become South Asia’s logistics hub, Sri Lanka has ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and is legally committed to implementing a series of reforms aimed at the simplification and modernisation of cross-border formalities.
The implementation of a single window is one of the obligations under the TFA. It is also an important milestone in improving Sri Lanka’s business competitiveness in international markets. The objective of the NSW is to set up a facility which allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements. This will reduce the time and costs currently spent by traders in preparing and submitting information and documents to multiple border regulatory agencies.
The Sri Lanka Government has committed to creating a NSW as a national priority with support from the highest levels in the government and private sectors.
Local stakeholders are expected to define the Single Window functionalities that would best contribute to improve Sri Lanka’s trading environment. Thus, the objective of this first public-private consultation is to facilitate the exchange of views between trade stakeholders and to formulate common recommendations on their expectations regarding the services to be provided by Sri Lanka’s Single Window.
The recommendations from this consultation will be shared with the National Trade Facilitation Committee as well as the World Bank Group which is currently involved in the development of a Single Window Blueprint which will formulate recommendations for the consideration of the Sri Lankan Government as the country proceeds towards implementation.