SL should focus on Doha Round – Deborah Elms

By Dianne Silva

Sri Lanka should focus on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Round of negotiations, as it would benefit the country’s agricultural exports, an expert on international trade said.

“Sri Lanka should send its trade negotiators to Geneva for Doha Round talks. Here, it would be possible for Sri Lanka to negotiate and ease trade restrictions, tariffs etc imposed particularly on agricultural exports by key markets,” Head of the Tamasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiations Deborah Elms pointed out yesterday.

 “All countries protect agriculture, and the challenge for Sri Lanka is that many of its competitive exports are agriculture-based (coconut, tea etc).”

Elms believes that negotiations with trade partners to lower trade barriers is a wise move. “This cannot be done on your own.  There has to be a concerted effort  to achieve the goal. The other approach would be to take trade delegations comprising members of the small and medium scale enterprises to other countries, so that they could promote agricultural export and also explain prevailing difficulties,” she explained.

Elms is to conduct a two-day workshop on WTO and Trade Relations issues at the Jetwing Blue Hotel, Negombo today and tomorrow.

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