February 17, 2016
Legal experts from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection collaborated with 20 senior officials from Sri Lanka Customs in Colombo last week on reforming customs procedures to enhance trade. The effort seeks to improve efficiency and transparency for businesses, allowing Sri Lanka to develop more fully its export potential and advance investment opportunities.
“The United States is working at all levels in Sri Lanka – government, private sector, and development groups – to help strengthen the economy for the benefit of all Sri Lankans,” said U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap. “These reforms will send important signals to the trade community that Sri Lanka is open for business.”
The three-day workshop, provided in cooperation with the Embassy of the United States of America, will also better position Sri Lanka to meet its commitment under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade Facilitation. The sessions addressed issues key to Sri Lanka realizing its export-led development plan, including advance rulings, valuation and classification, and customs appeals. In addition, the U.S. experts held a one-day training for 30 District Court and Magistrate Judges who commonly hear customs appeals.
“Improving the legal environment for doing business in Sri Lanka fosters economic opportunity for local entrepreneurs and U.S. companies alike,” said Megan McMillan, Attorney-Advisor for the U.S. Commerce Department Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP). She added, “These ambitious reforms will strengthen Sri Lanka’s connections to global supply chains while saving Customs resources.”
This week’s workshops are the first in a series the CLDP has proposed conducting in Sri Lanka in partnership with other U.S. government agencies.