Sri Lanka has realised that it needs to take full advantage of its FTAs to arrest the current export decline. It also is enlisting new recruits for its trade cadre to face global market demands.
“The Department of Commerce is the most crucial international service Sri Lanka has today since the time the post-war resurgence began. In today’s challenging global market climate, DoC’s role becomes even more important,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the newest batch of 10 recruits to Sri Lanka’s Department of Commerce. The newest cadre of 10, which boosts DoC’s total number to 44, has completed their orientation and was calling upon Minister Bathiudeen prior to their commencement with the DoC.
“You are one of the new groups of soldiers who will battle Sri Lanka’s next war on the international trade frontlines. Our export markets have become more and more challenging and 2012 exports have shown a decline for the first time in years. Therefore to win, we need full-time commitment, beyond the weekday attendance in your office. We want you to study the full potential of the two free trade agreements – the ISFTA with India and PSFTA with Pakistan. Of the 8,700 total listed products under these two agreements, some product lines have not been touched to date so that the best advantage is not gained yet. I believe it is now time for us to take steps to get the maximum advantage from these regional openings,” Bathiudeen added.
Ministry of Industry and Commerce Secretary Anura Siriwardene addressing the recruits, said: “We have selected you for this role based solely on your qualifications and not on any personal recommendations or ethnic or religious bias. We are not rewarding you with a new career opportunity here either. You are one of the new groups of soldiers who will battle Sri Lanka’s next war on the international trade frontlines.”
Also in attendance were DoC Director General P.D. Fernando and Deputy Director of Commerce Asoka Godawita.