Wednesday, 31 July 2013 00:48
In line with the Finance Act No. 12 of 2012, which specifies declaring Free Port bonded areas, the Minister of Finance has issued regulations and Colombo and Hambantota ports have been declared as Free Ports by the this Gazette notification.
Further, the Gazette envisages the Katunayake Export Processing Zone, Koggala Export Processing Zone and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport as bonded areas.
The enterprises, which will be benefitted from this arrangement, will be engaged in entrepot trade involving imports, minor processing and re-export, and off-shore business where goods can be procured from one country or manufactured in one country and shipped to another country without bringing them to Sri Lanka. Provision of frontend services to clients abroad, operations of the headquarters of the leading buyers and logistic services will also be covered by the regulations gazetted as Commercial Hub Regulations No. 1 of 2013.
The minimum investment of a new enterprise which is engaged in business activities mentioned above should be US$ 5 million. These companies are expected to achieve an annual re- export turnover of not less than US$ 20 million over a period of five years. If the business is engaged in logistic services such as a bonded warehouse or in the cases of operation of multi-country consolidation in Sri Lanka, the minimum investment will be US$ 3 million.Â The movement of goods to and from a Free Port is subjected to the Customs Ordinance and Imports and Exports Control Act. The country of origin certificate issued by the Department of Commerce will be made available for enterprises located in the Free Ports or bonded areas.
These regulations are expected to bring revolutionary changes to the trade and investment policies of the country. As outlined in the Mahinda Chinthana policy framework, these measures will open up new avenues for Sri Lanka to connect with other world economies and attain a higher growth rate by deploying more and more foreign investments.