The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Turkey Host Networking Reception to Boost B2B Contact between Sri Lanka –Turkey Travel Agents
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Turkey organized business networking reception for the visiting Sri Lankan travel trade delegation participated at the EXPO Travel Ankara fair 2019 at the Embassy on 14th November 2019.
Sri Lanka Participated at the Annual Tea Festival at Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario
Fourth annual Tea Festival held at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario from 9th to 10th November 2019
Sri Lanka awarded as “A place of charm that works towards the future” at IVIAGGIATORI in Switzerland in November 2019
The Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka to the UN and WTO in Geneva, in collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, organized Sri Lanka’s participation at the Swiss International Holiday Exhibition for the second consecutive year, successfully from 1st to 3rd November 2019.
Sri Lanka Participates at Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) 2019 Food and Beverage International Exhibition in Toronto
The event was held in Toronto from 22 to 23 October 2019. Sri Lanka’s national participation was coordinated by the High Commission in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Toronto together with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Export Development Board (EDB), and Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka.
Promotion of Sri Lanka’s Trade and Investment in Telangana by Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai
Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner to Southern India, V.Krishnamoorthy along with Minister (Commercial) Yasantha De Silva undertook an official visit to Hyderabad from 23-25 October, 2019 with the objective of strengthening trade and investment ties between Sri Lanka and State Government of Telangana.
Sri Lanka`s Participation at Digital Thailand- Big Bang 2019
The Department of Commerce Sri Lanka, jointly with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, using its trade promotional funds, for the first time has organized Sri Lanka`s participation in Digital Thailand - Big Bang 2019 exhibition held in Bangkok Thailand from October 28-31.
Sri Lankan IT/BPM Companies Participate at the CEBIT Australia - 2019 Exhibition in Sydney
Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Sydney in collaboration with the Export Development Board (EDB) and the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) organised a Country Pavilion at the CeBIT Australia from 29 to 31 October 2019 at the International Convention Centre, Sydney

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Vision

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

Mission

“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 officials in the Department of Commerce and its Commercial representatives based in Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions abroad actively take part in facilitating, strengthening and establishing Sri Lanka’s Commercial and Investment interests in foreign markets. Trade representatives abroad assist Sri Lankan enterprises to develop their business capabilities and find correct overseas partners. Trade Representatives are involved in

  • Providing assistance to the SME sector in finding buyers in the global market environment.
  • Matching service, which connects the Sri Lankan business community to overseas business contacts.
  • Providing of business and market intelligence for specific markets and products.
  • Providing market intelligence, up-to-date analysis on worldwide market trends, directions and business strategies, assessing and forecasting political, economic and business conditions in major economies with which Sri Lanka maintains a closer economic relation.
  • Counselling and consultations for Sri Lankan companies with an aim of providing them insight into how overseas private sector companies will respond and react to different market situations.
  • Providing adequate exposure and publicity to Sri Lanka’s unique advantages of strategic location, competitive and intelligent workforce, pro-business environment which make it is the ideal launching pad for penetrating to the massive regional and global markets
  • Assisting Sri Lankan enterprises to stay very relevant to the needs of the international market and support them in taking right decisions in establishing right connections.
  • Organizing business networking, business matchmaking and interactive dialogs for the Sri Lankan business community with their international counterparts during various business visits undertaken by them.
  • Engaging in and interacting closely with Sri Lankan business community on regular basis to understand their business needs better and continuously update them on overseas opportunities.
  • Assisting the business community to understand indirect trade restrictive measures such as TBT and SPS measures, by various economies, which may disturb future focus and directions of the enterprises and ensuring that effects of these measures are mitigated with possible counter measures by Sri Lanka.
  • Assisting government agencies as well as private sector enterprises to understand multilateral trading system under the auspices of WTO and its impact on future of the global trade.
  • Identifying trade-facilitating measures such as Preferential Tariffs, Free Trade Agreements and advice the concerned agencies how best Sri Lanka could reap benefits out of them.
  • Providing adequate exposure and publicity for wide range of benefits that could be accrued through several regional and bilateral trading arrangements for which Sri Lanka is signatory.
  • Ensuring that there is a proper network of contacts with every concerned party that include senior level government officials and business leaders including trade chambers to promote and protect Sri Lanka's interest overseas.
  • Communicating intelligence with relevant agencies including DOC in time to avoid or minimize possible damages to the future economic activities.

The DoC is acting as the authorized agency to issue recommendations for Resident Visa (RV) to expatriates who are employed by the Branch Offices of foreign companies and trade & commercial ventures whose presence falls directly under the purview of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

A company or an organization seeking to recruit a foreign national must make a request to the Department of Immigration & Emigration, prior to the arrival of the expatriate, giving details such as the name and nationality, duration of stay in Sri Lanka, nature of the assignment etc. along with the recommendation of the line Ministry. The Controller of Immigration & Emigration, on receipt of the above request and recommendations will inform the relevant Sri Lanka diplomatic Mission to issue Entry Visa for the applicant valid for 30 days with instructions to apply for RV valid for one year duration on arrival

In regard to the renewal of RV, the applicant has to make a request to the Secretary/Director General of Commerce with adequate reasons to justify continuity of the employee's stay in Sri Lanka. The DOC, in the process of issuing RV recommendations, pays careful attention to ensure that the presence of the expatriate worker in Sri Lanka is essential according to the given reasons, and that it does not, under any circumstances mitigate job opportunities available to Sri Lankans, that the RV applicant's presence is beneficial to the country from the national economic point of view and that the employer has made reasonably adequate efforts to identify a suitable replacement locally.

An application for resident visa according to the above requirements should be made to the Director General of Commerce with the duly perfected application form three weeks in advance.

The Department of Commerce is responsible for issuing Certificates of Origin (COOs) under all GSP Schemes, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trading Agreements (PTAs) of which Sri Lanka is either a beneficiary or Party. On the issuance of a COO certifying a product's compliance with the Agreement's Rules of Origin, the product can enter into those markets either duty free or under concessionary duty rates.

On average, the DoC issues 500 Certificates of Origin (COOs) per day, subject to a proper scrutiny. The DoC generally issues COOs within one day, with the objective of facilitating the completion of export documentation process expeditiously.

In order to meet this daunting task, the internal control system of the Department was streamlined at no additional cost. More than 75% of these COOs issued are under the EU GSP scheme mainly for apparel products exported to the European Union (EU).

A team of highly motivated officers who are assigned fulltime to the COO division are available for consultation and further clarifications at any time during office hours without prior appointments. On the average, 1000 consultations were carried out by the designated officials during the last nine months of this year.

issuance of certificate of origin

The DoC also functions as the focal point in Sri Lanka for joint commissions on trade and economic co-operation which have been established under trade agreements. These joint commissions provide a mechanism for inter-governmental cooperation in trade relations which is extremely beneficial for the development and expansion of Sri Lanka’s exports to the countries concerned. The DoC is responsible for bilateral trade negotiations under these joint commissions from the stage of their formulation, and with respect to coordination of their work and implementation of their decisions.

The scope of these Joint Commissions is comprehensive ranging from trade, banking, and shipping to co-operation in education, science and employment. Activities undertaken in this context apart from contributing to the promotion of Sri Lanka’s trade are intended to foster mutual understanding and co-operation between participating countries and their respective public and private sector agencies.

The Department of Commerce is responsible for co-ordination and conduct of the following Joint Commissions/Committees, which are held at ministerial level.

Sri Lanka - Bangladesh

The last meeting of the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Joint Commission on Economic Co-operation was held in Colombo from 30th to 31st March 1993. At that Session, possibilities in various fields for Bilateral Trade and Economic Co-operation, including industry, agriculture, and civil aviation, cultural and technical co-operation were discussed.

As a result of the Third Session, Sri Lankan Airlines and Bangladesh Biman, have concluded a Commercial Agreement to establish an air-link between the capitals.

The 4th Session was to be held in Dhaka. However, due to political disturbances in Bangladesh, as well as the operationlization of SAPTA, BIMST-EC and Bangkok Agreements, the Fourth Session of the Joint Economic Commission has so far not taken place.

Sri Lanka - Maldives

The 4th session of the Sri Lanka - Maldives Joint Committee was held in Colombo on 24th & 25th February, 1995. During the meeting both sides reviewed the existing bilateral economic and technical co-operation and expressed satisfaction with the growing interaction between the two countries. Consequent to the 4th Session, the Department of Labor in  Sri Lanka trained a number of officials of the Government of Maldives at the latter’s request.

The importance of the Trade Agreement signed between Sri Lanka and Maldives has been superseded by SAPTA.

Sri Lanka - China

The Sri Lanka-China Joint Committee is one of the most important bilateral arrangements conducted and co-ordinated by the Department of Commerce.

The Second Session of the Joint Commission was held in Beijing in March 1996. The Sri Lankan Delegation was led by the Hon. Minister of Internal & International Commerce and Food and the Chinese delegation by H.E. Madam Wu Yi, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation.

Subsequent to this Joint Committee Meeting, HE Mr. Zhu Rongji, and Chinese premier visited Sri Lanka in May 2001 and took up some of the matters came under the Joint Commission.

Sri Lanka has been enjoying a long history of trade relations with China, which dates back to several centuries. The period beginning 1952 marked a new chapter in trade relations between the two countries with the signing of a Trade Agreement and a Five-year Trade Agreement relating to rubber and rice in 1952. Until 1982, trade and payment Agreements were negotiated every 5 years, which provided the framework under which trade between the two countries was conducted. Annual protocols signed under these Agreements provided for the barter of rice and rubber. Two sets of clearing accounts were maintained with their respective Central Banks, in order to channel barter transactions.

Sri Lanka - Pakistan

Sri Lanka and Pakistan signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement in 1984. The last Session (9th Session) was held in Colombo during 12 - 13 May 2005 at the Commerce Ministers level. During the 9th Session, Diplomatic Notes confirming to each other of the completion of the domestic legal procedures were exchanged for implementation of Pakistan - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement.

Discussions were held on a wide range of subjects such as trade and commerce, investment, industries, credit facilities, air port and shipping services, technical assistance tourism etc. Sri Lanka was able to secure technical assistance from Pakistan in a wide range of fields including university education, commercial banking, central banking, railways, postal and telecommunications. Pakistan also agreed to Sri Lanka’s request for utilizing Pakistan’s new credit line of US$ 10 million for import of genetic materials by the Department of Animal Production and Health and to import merchandise by the STC General Trading Company. Both countries agreed to cooperate with each other on trade and investment promotion, air services, port and shipping, tourism, science and technology etc.

Sri Lanka - Egypt

Sri Lanka-Egypt trade had been transacted in free convertible currencies up to 1954, in which year both countries switched over to a "barter system" of trade that was conducted through a trade and Payments Account. The conduct of trade on barter prevailed up to the mid 70's until a new Bilateral Trade Agreement was signed in 1977, which did away with the barter system and facilitated the conduct of trade in a more dynamic manner. The new Agreement embraced hard currencies as the medium of settlement of trade exchanges. With a view to further strengthening bilateral relations, Sri Lanka and Egypt signed in 1987 an Economic and Technical Co-operation Agreement which paved the way for setting up of a Joint Commission and sub committees in order to address broader and specific trade issues. Consequently, in 1990, the first session of the "Joint Committee on Trade" was held in Sri Lanka. Subsequently both governments agreed to upgrade the Joint Committee on trade to the level of a Joint Commission to be co-chaired by the Trade Ministers of the two countries. The Ministerial level Joint Commission is expected to achieve the highest possible outcome through a more co-ordinated and integrated approach. Accordingly, the first session of the new Joint Commission on Economic & Technical Co-operation between Sri Lanka and Egypt was held in Cairo in 1996 at Ministerial Level.

Sri Lanka - Romania

The 8th Session of the Sri Lanka - Romania Joint Committee for Economic Co-operation was held in Colombo in December 1991. At this meeting, a draft Agreement on Trade, Economic & Technical Co-operation between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of Romania was negotiated. The new draft Agreement incorporated the basic objectives of both the Trade Agreement of 1975 and the economic & Technical Co-operation Agreement of 1968.

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs & Finance have given their concurrence to the new draft for which Cabinet Approval has already been obtained. The Agreement is anticipated to be signed at the forthcoming Joint Committee for Trade and Economic Co-operation. This Agreement would be signed by the respective Ministers on a date mutually agreed by Romania and Sri Lanka in Bucharest.

Sri Lanka - Iran

The Trade and Payment Agreement between Iran and Sri Lanka signed in 1962 was replaced with a Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Co-operation signed in 1987. Trade thereafter between the two countries has been conducted within the purview of the Joint Commission. There have been Seven Joint Commission meetings, since 1997 and the Eighth Session was held in Tehran, Iran from 27 - 28 May 2006 at the Trade Ministers level.

During the Ninth Session held in Colombo 13th - 15th September 2010, both Iran and Sri Lanka recognized that the present trade pattern, though somewhat modest, provides for considerable room for expansion of trade between the two countries.

In securing greater market access for Sri Lanka's main export item of tea, both sides discussed the establishment of quota/tariff for import of tea from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka requested that this quota should reflect Sri Lanka's market position and a part of it to be allowed to be exported in pre-packed form from Sri Lanka. This was necessitated as the Deputy Minister of Commerce of Iran stated that Iran has banned import of tea to Iran, just prior to the commencement of the Joint Commission.

Sri Lanka - Thailand

The Agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation between Sri Lanka and Thailand was signed in January 1996 during the visit of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister to Thailand. Accordingly the first meeting under this co-operation agreement was held in June 2000 in Bangkok. At this meeting the two sides reviewed the overall state of trade co-operation between the two countries and emphasized the need to further expand the bilateral trade to its full potential

Sri Lanka - Kuwait

This page is under construction

Sri Lanka - Iraq

The Trade Agreement signed between Sri Lanka and Iraq in 1975 provides for a Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Co-operation and its first Session was held in Colombo in March 1979.

The 7th Session of the Sri Lanka - Iraq Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation, which was held in Colombo 21-22 October 2010, concluded successfully with the establishment of Committees to study various areas of cooperation.

Three Committees were set up to study

  • Trade & Financial Cooperation;
  • Economic Cooperation; 
  • Scientific, Cultural & Technical Cooperation