to cut duty on apparel exports
Sri Lankan apparel exporters will get a five percent duty reduction
in the European Union market (EU), Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of
Commerce and Consumer Affairs, announced last week. He was speaking
at a seminar to discuss Sri Lanka's performance at the failed Cancun
attributed the duty reductions to what he called Sri Lanka's good
performance at the Cancun ministerial meeting. He said that China
would also give duty concessions if China imports goods from Sri
said, "We did not jeopardize our SAARC status and supported
our regional friends as long as they supported our domestic needs.
We did what was best for our country."
to the Singapore issues, which led to the ultimate collapse of the
meeting, Karunanayake said that Sri Lanka supported two out of the
four Singapore issues which were transparency and trade facilitation.
The minister said he firmly believes that Sri Lanka will stand to
gain a lot through multilateral trade.
also it would be beneficial to the Sri Lankan economy to concentrate
more on manufactured and value added goods. He cited as an example
the big demand for fridges and fans from Indian and Pakistani tourist
at the duty free complex.
addition will ensure a 7 - 8 percent growth in the economy within
the next two years," he said. Speaking at the seminar the secretary
of the Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Harsha Wickramasinghe
said, " We have to make our selves more proactive. To penetrate
markets today we must improve our products. There is no consistency
in the quality of our agriculture products and therefore we are
unable to meet standards. Hence tariffs are legitimate as there
are high costs involved in trying to adopt these standards."
No substitute for WTO-Brazil
Brazil, one of the countries, which led the Third World bloc at
the recent Cancun trade talks, has said that there is no substitute
for the World Trade Organization (WTO), and that problems in world
commerce cannot be solved through bilateral agreements.
In a recent
interview with Newsweek, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim
said that nobody wins in a trade war and that not even the US would
want a trade war with developing nations.
Amorim the talks did not break down because of agriculture but because
of the insistence of Western nations on discussing the Singapore
Agenda - rules for government procurement, trade financing and competitiveness.
Until that point the talks progressed well and delegates were ready
to negotiate adjustments to agricultural subsidies.
a political victory," he said. "Despite the initial resistance,
we were treated as a legitimate negotiating party, not as a grouplet
of countries over in the corner shouting and creating obstacles."