Oct 03, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Trade Information Portal (SLTIP) a one-stop point for information relating to import into and export from Sri Lanka has stunned world trade circles by garnering the highest validation of data accuracy so far seen on any World Bank assisted info-portal, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen says.
The SLTIP, implemented by the Department of Commerce is government's major initiative on cross-border trade information that complies with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The trade portal was launched by the Minister of Industry and Commerce on 20th July 2018.
SLTIP is Sri Lanka's premier international commitment for transparent and feasible trade info, backed by 42 Lankan government agencies and is a major step towards a more favorable and enabling environment for Doing Business in Sri Lanka, which in itself, a critical milestone in the country's 'Economic Hub' ambition.
Addressing the launch of the SLTIP, Minister of Bathiudeen said the World Bank supported, and Department of Commerce operated Trade Information Portal is prioritized for implementation in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) plan for the country and it is also an integral part of the trade policy and export promotion strategy at national level.
"With the operation of the Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal, our business community and other stakeholders will be provided with a useful tool to find the info necessary to facilitate their cross-border trade and import-export," he said.
By the launch of SLTIP, 204 Non-Tariff Measures were identified, closely analyzed and 207 related procedures were integrated while 252 forms related to Procedures were identified and 269 legal documents with details of legislative background to the Measures too were identified.
At the time of its launch, 98.8% of the total content of SLTIP had been validated making it the highest validated TIP to be developed by the World Bank to-date.
SLTIP reached a total of 10,071 visitors including 33,486 page views within the first two months of its launch, which is also the highest number of visitors attracted by any World Bank assisted Trade Information Portal.
SLTIP implements ratification and notification of WTO TFA categorical commitments by Sri Lanka since the county is bound to honor the agreed commitments.
The World Bank Group continues to provide financial assistance to the TIP and recently other donor agencies such as International Trade Centre (ITC) under the EU-SL Trade Related Assistance Project and GIZ have also agreed to collaborate to further develop and enlarge TIP.
Compliant with Article 1.2 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA) which relates to information to be published through internet, SLTIP is a result of vast efforts by the Department of Commerce (DoC) attempted in a very short time.
With the World Bank appointed PM Group, the DoC embarked on the endeavor in December 2017. DoC now hosts TIP -with ongoing inputs drawn from all involved stakeholders. DoC has assigned a team of eight officers in three layers as SLTIP managers, Content Managers and Web Masters for the sustainability of the SLTIP.
It is this Team that ensures updating SLTIP in a timely manner -as and whenever there are changes in the regulatory frameworks related to trade with most recent news on trade, the Minister said.