The President of the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE), Sarada De Silva says that although the chamber concurs with the approach of the government to negotiate Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements with suitable countries to enhance trade, bottlenecks in the existing Trade Agreements notably with India needs to be eliminated, along with the establishment of sound regulatory and safeguard measures to protect entrepreneurs.

Addressing the 24th NCE Export Awards ceremony held last week, De Silva noted that it is regrettable that even the envisaged antidumping legislation has been pending for too long and therefore, rectifying the issues will overcome the concerns of exporters, and ensure a level playing field.

“Furthermore Sri Lanka does not have in place legislation pertaining to Geographical Indications (GI), nor is there a GI Register in the country.  These are primary international requirements that enables a country to claim the highest level of recognition for unique products of Sri Lanka, such as Ceylon Tea, Ceylon Cinnamon,Ceylon Blue Sapphires and many others,” the NCE President noted.

He highlighted that some of the urgent requirements are a sound Trade and Investment policy, with responsibility in the hands of a single authority to approve Foreign Investments, to ensure the entry of investments technology and skills that are beneficial to the country.

“At present approvals are given by more than one authority with different objectives leading to misuse of entry requirements. Concurrently Immigration Laws need to be strengthened and properly implemented to overcome the prevailing loopholes, to allay the fears of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and employment seekers. In this way an environment could be created for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and exporters to move away from a defensive stance, and negotiate avenues to exploit external market opportunities throughTrade Agreements,” he further pointed out.