Thematic

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The Sri Lankan economy needs a better bureaucracy, not just a better Cabinet of Ministers

There are several causes to the problems facing Sri Lanka’s economy. The problem of bureaucratic inefficiency exemplified by this case study: finding information about trade regulations is a significant barrier to improving the economy in agricultural products. The poor performance in the supply of even basic information indicates the larger challenge of improving the bureaucracy.

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Accepting e-documents with e-signatures: A small step for government, a giant leap for the country

Improving export performance is a national priority for Sri Lanka. However, the room for exporters to improve their export competitiveness is significantly constrained by the time it takes to process export documentation at various Sri Lankan border agencies. As such, Sri Lanka can significantly improve the competitiveness of its exporters by reducing processing times at the border. A proven method in this regard is the use of Electronic Document (e-document) processing platforms for trade. Currently in Sri Lanka, the benefit of this particular opportunity is being hobbled by the non-acceptance of electronic signatures (e-signatures) despite most of the prerequisites and systems being in place. This policy note sets out the main findings of a study conducted by Verité Research on the non-acceptance of e-signatures in Sri Lanka.

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Sri Lanka’s Domestic Barriers to Trade: Case Studies of Agricultural Exports

In the recent past, Sri Lanka has focused on negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) as a means to revive its export sector. FTAs address external barriers that Sri Lankan exporters face in the importing country. However, trade barriers are found not only at the border of the importing country, but also at the border of the exporting country. Using agriculture products as case studies, this study identifies such domestic barriers. Findings reveal that domestic barriers to trade significantly undermine the export capacity and competitiveness of Sri Lankan exports. Hence, addressing them is important to unleash the country’s export potential.

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Facilitating The Registration Of Trademarks A Step towards Creating Internationally Recognised Sri Lankan Brands

The Madrid Protocol is a simplified global system for registering trademarks abroad. It eases trademark registration abroad for Sri Lankan businesses. Sri Lanka is looking to complete accession to the Madrid Protocol by the end of 2017 or early 2018. However, accession to the Madrid Protocol will not necessarily help address the related challenges faced by Sri Lankan business; the challenge of registering trademarks in Sri Lanka. Verité has conducted research on the challenges faced in the process of registering trademarks in Sri Lanka and how these challenges undermine the benefits of the proposed accession to the Madrid Protocol. This policy brief presents an analysis of these issues and provides recommendations to overcome the identified obstacles.

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E-Government Procurement: Enabling Business through Efficient Systems

Public procurement is a key instrument through which governments deliver important social and economic goods to citizens. Efficient and accountable public procurement enables better utilisation of public funds, and in better public goods and services. Strengthening public procurement in Sri Lanka requires enhancing its efficiency, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness. E-procurement offers the government major efficiency gains, cost-savings, higher value for money and better fiscal management.

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E-Government Procurement: Enabling Business through Efficient Systems January (Sinhala Edition)

Public procurement is a key instrument through which governments deliver important social and economic goods to citizens. Efficient and accountable public procurement enables better utilisation of public funds, and in better public goods and services. Strengthening public procurement in Sri Lanka requires enhancing its efficiency, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness. E-procurement offers the government major efficiency gains, cost-savings, higher value for money and better fiscal management.

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Trademark Registration: From Colombo to Madrid

The Madrid Protocol is a global mechanism for registering trademarks outside one’s home country. It reduces the time, inconvenience and cost incurred by companies attempting to ensure international recognition and protection of their trademarks. In the 2016 budget, the Government of Sri Lanka, allocated LKR 100 million to speed up accession to the Madrid Protocol. This was a positive response to a long-standing request of Sri Lankan exporters. It will assist and encourage Sri Lankan exporters to invest in branding and trade-marks in their market strategy and growth. This insight shows that the path to Madrid, and its benefits for Sri Lankan exporters, faces a singularly daunting pothole. That pothole is in Colombo, and is created by very low level of trademarks registered each year despite the increase in the number of applications and the extensive delays in processing applications by the public institution responsible for registering trademarks. A path to ‘Madrid’ is not enough, the pothole in Colombo needs a separate solution.

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Are Sri Lanka’s exports to India over dependent on concessions?

Sri Lanka’s exports as a share of GDP has declined from 33% in 2000 to 13% in 2015. One of the solutions has been to diversify Sri Lanka’s markets. This is because over 50% of Sri Lanka’s exports go to the EU and the United States; and India and China absorb only 7% and 2.9% respectively. A previous Verité Insight titled “Solving dilemma of export diversification” pointed out that the bottleneck might not be in a narrow set of markets, but in a narrow set of products. Over 50% of Sri Lanka’s exports are Apparel and Tea, and the markets Sri Lanka accesses are appropriate to these products. Therefore, solving the export problem requires giving attention to diversifying products as well, not just the markets. The present analysis looks at the success of product diversification with regard to exports to India – signaling both a diversification from traditional markets and traditional products. This success in diversification, however, conceals some vulnerability. A majority of the products Sri Lanka is exporting to India are overly dependent on preferential trade terms with India – so they succeed only in India. This makes them vulnerable on two counts: the reversal of preferences, or the…

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Trade in Services: Unearthing the devil in the details

Sri Lanka is negotiating an Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) with India. It envisages liberalising trade in services. The lack of information on what is being negotiated has fueled speculation on the outcomes. A previous Verité Insight titled “Trade in Services: Sri Lanka needs to pull up its socks” pointed out, with reference to current Trade Agreements (TAs) of Sri Lanka, that the devil is really in the details – not the concept itself. This Insight attempts to unearth the devil in the details (pitfalls and opportunities) by a quantitative and case analysis of India’s trade agreement with Japan. Explaining at the outset some of the trade related terminology will help to unpack the implications.

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