Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of cutting down on the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) security check carried out at the airport on perishable exports which adds to the delay and results in poor quality of local agricultural trade in the global market. Sri Lankan regulations have become counterproductive to exporters so much [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Govt. aims to reduce security check on exports at airport

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Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of cutting down on the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) security check carried out at the airport on perishable exports which adds to the delay and results in poor quality of local agricultural trade in the global market.

Sri Lankan regulations have become counterproductive to exporters so much so that perishable products subject to stringent checks find it hard to compete with global brands.

Lack of temperature controlled environment to carry out the checks on perishable exports; excessive lead times by SriLankan Airlines comparatively longer than other carriers and security checkpoints undermine the exporting items’ competitiveness, a research carried out by Verite Research stated on Wednesday.

Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Processors and Exporters Association said that it had pursued the matter with International Trade and Development Minister Malik Samarawickrama who had held a round of two meetings on this issue.

It was believed that further discussions with the SLAF would be initiated by the government to understand the necessity of the security check carried out at the airport and look for possibilities to remove this check point, industry spokesmen said.

SLAF checks are being carried out at the entrance to the airport, it was noted which “increases the time in transit, adds to the cost of exporting and compromises the quality of the products.”

Sri Lanka brought in laws to prevent any foreign pests or diseases to infect local plant life but despite the relevant legislation being set in place the necessary regulations were yet to be published 17 year since the laws were passed, Executive Director of the research agency Dr. Nishan De Mel said at a media briefing this week.

He noted further, that administrative barriers were also a dampener on Sri Lanka’s exports since exporters were checked for regulatory compliance by three agencies namely National Plant Quarantine Service, Sri Lanka Customs and SriLankan Cargo.

Improper facilities to carry out these checks and lack of awareness by the inspectors that carry out the checks results in poor quality products air freighted to the global market which is not good for Sri Lanka, the research noted.

The research also found out that there was high cost involved in obtaining information from the relevant government agencies despite these bodies having publicly accessible websites whose data might not be updated.

In this respect, it was asserted that Sri Lanka’s global ranking for the efficiency and transparency of border administration went down from 87th place in 2014 to 97th position in 2016 out of 136 countries, according to the Global Trade Enabling Index.

Moreover, the World Bank rankings on Doing Business Index has stated that it takes 76 hours on average to comply with export documentary requirements in Sri Lanka compared to 11 hours in Thailand.

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