Sri Lanka falls behind Least Developed Countries in Trade Facilitation

While there may be numerous factors contributing to Sri Lanka’s sluggish export performance, this background note highlights an important one that puts Sri Lankan exporters at a disadvantage: the failure of the government to facilitate trade by making import and export procedures efficient, less costly, more predictable, and transparent. The comparison is done by using the notifications on progress made by countries under the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as a yardstick. The analysis finds that Sri Lanka’s progress falls below not only its competitors and peers but also the least developed countries. Out of the 125 developing and least developed countries, Sri Lanka (ranked 104th) is among the countries that have made the least progress in implementing measures to facilitate trade. Based on the findings, this note provides three lessons Sri Lanka can learn from the experience of others and provides an indicative list of ten measures Sri Lanka can prioritise to implement.