The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) has been conducting the Exporters’ Forum since its inception from late 70s. The EDB has identified the need of a common platform to discuss and resolve the issues faced by the exporter community in Sri Lanka in order to facilitate exporters to overcome constraints arising from policy and operational issues created by various institutes that regulate, operate, and facilitate cross border trade. The EDB as the nation’s prime institute to facilitate export development created this mechanism to enable exporters to submit their issues to the highest levels of state institutions that cannot be reached easily by a trader. The unique feature of the Exporters’ Forum is the participation of the private sector and the public sector to resolve issues, with the political leadership represented by the relevant minister together with direct ministry-level interventions providing solutions to address those issues.
Operational issues faced by the exporters generally take less time to resolve, while policy-related issues usually take time as changing government policies has to go through a standard process. The issues of exporters can be resolved more expeditiously with the assistance of the other relevant agencies. The Exporters’ Forum is conducted once every two months and 10-15 issues are taken up for discussion during the forum.
Most of the problems faced by exporters cannot be solved by one institution alone and requires a joint effort of several institutions. During the forum, exporters are able to find solutions to their trade-related issues from public sector institutions.
The forum runs with full attendance from the Private Sector, Exporters, Chambers, Associations and senior officials of the Ministries and Departments. The general consensus among the exporter community is that the forum results in a productive exchange of ideas between the private sector and the policy makers of the government which is immensely useful in addressing trade obstacles.
The EDB invites exporters and other enterprises to submit their export-related issues to the EDB to be taken up for discussion at the forum. Exporters can submit their issues by post to Director, Trade Facilitation & Trade Information Division, EDB/NDB Towers, No 42, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02 and by email to ([email protected]) or through the dedicated online platform namely, Online Alert for Trade Obstacles (OATO) https://forum.edb.gov.lk/