|Total trade between the two countries was registered as $ 1.15 b and Sri Lanka’s exports and imports were valued at $ 956 m and $ 194 m respectively in 2022.
The Department of Comm-erce last week launched the new UK Developing Country Trading Scheme (DCTS) with the UK Department for International Trade (UKDIT) during the UKDIT Team’s visit to Sri Lanka to demonstrate its strong trade relations between the countries.
The DCTS is the bespoke UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) program which will be implemented by the UK Government shortly.
The DCTS is introduced by the UK Government to facilitate developing countries to integrate into the global economy, create stronger trade and investment partnerships and strengthen supply chains.
Sri Lanka is one of 65 nations that will benefit from the UK’s new DCTS which will come into force in 2023, offering lower tariffs and simpler rules of origin requirements for exporting to the UK.
This scheme will replace the current GSP Framework Program which has been effective since 01.01.2021.
Once implemented, Sri Lanka will be a beneficiary under the UK DCTS Enhanced Preference Scheme offering zero duty for over 7000 eligible product lines (at HS 6-digit level).
The Department of Commerce (DOC) as the implementation agency of the UK GSP Scheme in Sri Lanka, organised a briefing session with the UK Team for the existing UK exporters registered with the DOC, potential exporters and its staff.
The main objective of the briefing was to explore opportunities in the UK market under the DCTS. It was an attempt to enhance exports, diversify the export basket, introduce value added products, identify niche markets, and understand ways to increase the UK GSP utilisation rate.
The UKDIT Team and the exporters representing apparel, tea, rubber, coconut, spices, fish, herbal and Ayurvedic products, beverages, animal feed, gems and jewellery, boat building, herbal and Ayurvedic products applauded the initiative taken by the Bilateral Affairs Division of the DOC in promoting exporters’ products and establishing direct contacts between the UKDIT and the Sri Lankan businesses.
Ahead of the briefing session, the UK team met the Minister of Trade, Commerce and Food Security Nalin Fernando at the ministry premises and discussed avenues to further expand bilateral trade and explore potential sectors under this scheme.
British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton, UKDIT Trade for Development Division Trade Preferences Policy Manager for Sri Lanka Sofie Kinsey, British High Commission in Pakistan Regional Trade Policy Adviser Fabian Hartwell, UKDIT South Asia Department for Business and Trade Strategic Policy Lead Nicholas Gribit and British High Commission in Colombo Head of Trade Investment Michael Fernandopulle represented the UK side.
It was an opportunity to receive first-hand information about the UK’s new DCTS from the visiting UK team. They explained that the DCTS is aimed at helping developing countries to prosper and support sustainable growth in developing countries. Sectors such as tea, rubber, pet food, ship building were some areas that were identified by the UK Government for further analysis in facilitating the Sri Lankan exporters.
Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Food Security Secretary A.M.P.M.B. Atapattu, Acting Director General of Commerce Gilma Dahanayake, and Bilateral Affairs Division Head Dr. Lakmini Mendis joined the discussion with the UK team.
Discussions pivoted around penetrating the UK market, future direction of trade policy to integrate into the global economy and playing an active role in supply chains and working in collaboration to achieve objectives of both countries through this unilateral preferential scheme. Along with the launch of the UK DCTS in Sri Lanka, DOC established a desk for DCTS inquiries and introduced a QR Code for more information about the scheme as well.
In coinciding with these events, in order to disseminate the DCTS implementation further, Dr. Lakmini Mendis represented DOC as a panellist at a panel discussion on UK DCTS organised by the British High Commission in Colombo on 14 March 2023.
In 2022, the UK was the second largest single export market of Sri Lanka in which 70% accounted for apparel products followed by value-added rubber products, coconut products, footwear, tea, spices, machinery parts, parts of measuring instruments etc. The UK was the 21st largest supplier to Sri Lanka and plastic articles, printed books and paperboards, turbo-jets and turbo-propellers, pharmaceuticals etc. were the main imports from UK to Sri Lanka in 2022.
Total trade between the two countries was registered as $ 1.15 billion and Sri Lanka’s exports and imports were valued at $ 956 million and $ 194 million respectively in 2022.
Pix by Lasantha Kumara