Embassy of Sri Lanka holds meeting with Mr. Saleh S. Al Solami, Secretary General of Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA)
H.E the Ambassador Azmi Thassim held a meeting with Mr. Saleh S. Al Solami, Secretary General of Saudi Export Development Authority at SEDA in Riyadh on 6th October 2019 to discuss on the Saudi Export Program and the using of the available facilities by the Sri Lankan companies
Second Sub-Committee Meeting on Trade between Sri Lanka and Viet Nam
Delegates from Viet Nam and Sri Lanka who participated in the 02nd Sub Committee Meeting on Trade, in Ha Noi Viet Nam on 03rd & 04th October 2019
Sri Lanka Business Networking Event in Sydney
The Sri Lanka and Australia Chamber of Commerce (SLACC) together with Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Sydney and Gilbert and Tobin Lawyers organised a Business Networking Event to explore business and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka on Tuesday 1st October 2019 in Sydney CBD.
Sri Lanka participates at OTDYKH/Leisure International Tourism Exhibition 2019 in Moscow
Under the auspices of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), as in the previous years, in collaboration with Sri Lankan Embassy in Moscow, Sri Lankan travel agents and tour companies participated in OTDYKH/ Leisure International Tourism Exhibition-2019, which commenced on 10 September at Expo Centre, Moscow.
Sri Lanka Makes Stronger Presence at the Fine Food Australia – 2019
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Sydney in collaboration and coordination with the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) and the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) organized Sri Lankan Pavilion at the Fine Food Australia from 9th to 12th September 2019 at the International Convention Centre, Sydney
FHT the international 5-Star food & hospitality trade event was held from 04 - 07 September 2019 at BITECH Exhibition Centre, Bangkok
SME Exporters of Sri Lanka Visit Mumbai for the Production Process Improvement & Market Penetration Programme
Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai in collaboration with Export Development Board of Sri Lanka successfully organized the Production Process Improvement & Market Penetration Programme-2019 aimed at SME exporters of Food Manufacturing sector of Sri Lanka from 29th August to 02 September 2019.

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“Raising living standards of the people through international trade relations”


“To develop and promote Sri Lanka’s foreign trade relations at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels by the effective implementation of government trade policy, with a view to raising the standards of living and realizing a higher quality of life through the increase of total production, income and employment levels, thereby actively contributing to the overall economic growth of Sri Lanka.”

The central pillar of the multilateral rule-based trading system enshrined in the GATT/WTO is the acceptance and operation of the Most Favoured Nation principle. This means that every member of GATT/WTO should invariably accord the same, identical, equal and non-discriminatory treatment to all imports irrespective of the countries of origin.

However, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is an officially agreed exception to the MFN principle which was proposed at the first meeting of the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with a view to assisting the developing countries in their exports and development efforts. In 1964, the First United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) started to look into ways and means of granting special trade preferences to developing countries.

Main objectives of granting trade preferences to developing countries were :

  • To enhance export earnings of developing countries.
  • To promote industrialization, and
  • To encourage the diversification of their economies.

In 1968, UNCTAD recommended the creation of a "Generalized System of Tariff Preferences" under which industrialized countries would grant autonomous trade preferences to all developing countries.

In order to implement the system a waiver was required from Article 1 of the GATT which prohibits discrimination. This waiver was granted in 1971 by adopting the "enabling clause" of the GATT to create the legal framework for the "Generalized System of Tariff Preferences" (GSP). Under this framework developed countries were authorized to establish individual Generalized Schemes of Tariff Preferences.

The enabling clause was adopted originally for ten years, and renewed in 1979, for an indefinite period of time thereafter.

Countries that Extend GSP Benefits

New Zealand
Russian Federation
* EU Member States
Czech Republic


United Kingdom

The history of the Department of Commerce goes back to 1931, established during the period of British rule to facilitate commercial operations. This government institution was incorporated under the Ceylon State Council Order of 1931, which replaced the Ceylon Legislative Council of 1923. Under the section 32 of the Ceylon State Council Order seven Executive Committees were formed. The Executive Committeeon “Labour, Industry and Commerce” with its legislative powers, created Bureau of Commerce assigned with the subject of “Commerce”. After the independence, with the introduction of a Cabinet System of Government,the same institution now known as the Department of Commerce was assigned to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 29thSeptember 1947.

Throughout the years, with its institutional knowledge and capacity, the Department of Commerce has involved in formulation and implementing of Sri Lanka’s foreign trade policies at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, in close collaboration with relevant line ministries, authorities and private sector stakeholders.

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