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Trade Policy:
Following the trade liberalization initiatives introduced since late 70s, Sri Lanka continue to expand its liberal trade policy regime, while simplifying and rationalizing the country’s tariff structure to a larger extent.
The prime objective of the government’s economy and trade policy measures are to integrate Sri Lanka with the global economy within positive attributes of the free market economy.  The government’s current trade and economic policy measures aim at transforming Sri Lanka into a strategically important economic centre of the world particularly, taking the advantage of its geographic location.

Sri Lanka recognizes that the process of globalization presents both opportunities and challenges.  Within this context, government encourages the private sector to play a leading role in economy in almost all sectors.

Being a pioneer member of GATT and the WTO, Sri Lanka remains committed fully towards pursuing  a rule based multilateral trading system that will ensure transparent and predictable trading environment to the international business community.  Sri Lanka at present receives and grants tariff preferences under following trade agreements/arrangements at bilateral and regional level.

1.         Indo – Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement
2.         Pakistan – Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement
3.         South Asian Free Trade area
4.         Asia Pacific Trade Agreement

Sri Lanka also a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP),  granted by major markets such as EU, USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand and Russia.

Useful trade related links
Department of Commerce:                         www.doc.gov.lk
Sri Lanka Export Development Board :    www.srilankabusiness.com

Investment Policy
Sri Lanka has gained a reputation as the first country to liberalize its investment policy regime in the region.  Foreign ownership is welcome in almost all sectors of the economy, except in a few regulated areas. Investors are permitted to repatriate 100% their profits and exempted from most of the exchange control regulations. They can also enjoy preferential tax benefits and constitutional guarantees on their investment.

Sri Lanka: A Regional Trading Hub
Being strategically located at the cross roads of east-west sea routes and serving as an entry point to the vast Indian market, Sri Lanka is well poised to become the trading hub in the region. According to the Lloyds Register, the Port of Colombo ranks as  no. 1 port in South Asia and 26th in the world. While 23 major shipping lines and 7 feeder services operate out of Colombo, the port is computerized and linked to all major freight stations.

A number of major airlines operate flights from Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Colombo to many important cities in Europe, Middle-East, Australia and Indian sub continent. The national carrier, Sri Lankan airlines now covers about 50 destinations in 28 countries.

Strategic location with sea and air connectivity, high literacy rate, well educated and easily trainable workforce, market-friendly and transparent government policies, improved infrastructure, high quality education and healthcare facilities have made Sri Lanka an ideal location for foreign investors.

Preferential Access to Foreign Markets:
The Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) Sri Lanka has singed with India and Pakistan provides duty-free access to a very large number of products exported from Sri Lanka to the respective markets. For instance, Sri Lanka can now export over 4,000 product lines to the vast Indian and Pakistan markets at zero-duty.

In addition, the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), which groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka enables entrepreneurs, who set up businesses in Sri Lanka to export their products to all the respective markets either duty free or at reduced rate of duty.

Being a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), Sri Lanka can also enjoy a wide range of duty concessions in many countries including major markets such as EU, USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, and Russia.

For most specific details on the business environment, infrastructure facilities, incentives in investment opportunities for investors etc. Details are available at the website of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka www.boi.lk.  Further details could also be obtained from contacting the office of the Consulate General.

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