Ceramics industry wants anti-dumping laws fast tracked

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 00:57 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The 10th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Ceramics Council (SLACC) was held recently at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo. The Chief Guest at this event was Minister of Technology and Research P. Champika Ranawaka, and the Keynote Speaker was Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) Research Economist Anushka Wijesinha. President Mahendra Jayasekera addressing the members said, “The taxation reforms introduced a few years ago including reduction of corporate taxes has been encouraging.  We also welcome the protection provided to local industries with the introduction of CESS to ward off unfair competition from cheap imports.  It is time that the Government seriously considers introduction of Anti-dumping legislation which has been in the backburner for over a decade. The country has enjoyed stable growth with low inflation for three years. However, the non-achievement of Government fiscal targets and the lack of control on state expenditure have resulted in increased Government borrowings and foreign debt. The use of ad hoc mid-night tariff changes we have experienced recently are signs the Government is having difficulty maintaining fiscal discipline. The high level of public debt has stunted growth compared with many other economies and put pressure on the banks.  Building investor confidence is very important to attract FDI’s and stimulate growth and towards this, transparency, consistent policies, good governance and a vastly improved law and order situation are imperative.” Speaking further the President said that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce along with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board has targeted to double the country’s exports by the 2020 to US$ 20 billion and the Ceramic industry too is committed to support the achievement of this ambitious target. During the AGM, Jayasekara announced the name change of the Council to The Sri Lanka Ceramics and Glass Council. P. Champika Ranawaka said that he believes the Sri Lanka Ceramics Council is an effective body representing the entire industry which during its 10 years of existence has many achievements worthy of emulation by other industrial clusters in the country.  He stated that the Ceramics industry occupies an important position in the relatively narrow layer of manufacturing industries in Sri Lanka’s economy and it stands out among the relatively narrow range of exports. He also went on to say that Sri Lankan ceramics rank pretty high among the Sri Lankan export brands which have earned a global name. He further elaborated on the energy intensive process in manufacturing ceramics and said the cost of energy constitutes a crucial component of the ‘cost structure’ in the industry which is seen as a major challenge for expansion and future development of the ceramics industry, and realising its full potential. In conclusion he said, in the longer term with the depletion of the presently identified economically extractable, petroleum reserves which is forecast to occur in the next 3 – 4 decades, industries have to judiciously incorporate renewable energy options in planning for the future. The keynote speaker Anushka Wijesingha delivered his presentation on ‘Clarity or Confusion? The Global Economy and Sri Lanka’.  This was very informative and well received by all those present.