Market Access means tariff and non-tariff measures imposed by countries for the entry of specific goods into those countries. Countries have various different systems controlling the import of products by legal requirements and additional (buyer) requirements. Some buyer requirements may go beyond legal requirements
Market Access refers the openness of particular markets to foreign products and services with compliance to the conditions of tariff and non-tariff measures for the entry of specific goods into the specific markets.
The central pillar of the multilateral rule-based trading system enshrined in the GATT/WTO is the acceptance and operation of the Most Favoured Nation principle. This means that every member of GATT/WTO should invariably accord the same, identical, equal and non-discriminatory treatment to all imports irrespective of the countries of origin.
However, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is an officially agreed exception to the MFN principle which was proposed at the first meeting of the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with a view to assisting the developing countries in their exports and development efforts. In 1964, the First United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) started to look into ways and means of granting special trade preferences to developing countries.Download Report
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), instituted in 1971 under the aegis of UNCTAD, has contributed over the years to creating an enabling trading environment for developing countries. The following 15 countries grant GSP preferences: Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Challenges arise for beneficiaries in fully exploiting the market access opportunities available under these schemes, including in effectively meeting the rules of origin requirements. Following the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Decision in 2005 in which members agreed that developed countries and developing countries in a position to do so would grant duty-free and quota-free market access for exports of LDCs, improvements were made to various GSP schemes and/or new schemes for LDCs were launched. Subsequent ministerial decisions, including that taken at MC10 in Nairobi, 19 December 2015, reaffirmed the continued importance of this issue for LDCs' trade and development prospects. The provision and utilization of trade preferences is a key goal the Istanbul Program of Actions adopted at the UN LDC IV in 2013, as further reaffirmed in SDGs Goal 17.
The commercial relations between Sri Lanka and India has marked a historical milestone when it was signed the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) on 28th December 1998, as the 01st bilateral free trade agreement of Sri Lanka. The ISFTA entered into force with effect from 01st March 2000. The ISFTA is now in full implementation as both sides have completed their phasing out commitments under the respective Tariff Liberalization Programme (TLP), as explained below reports.Download Report
As the 2nd bilateral FTA of Sri Lanka, the framework agreement of PSFTA was signed on the 01st August 2002 and the PSFTA came into operation from 12th June 2005. In accordance with the respective commitments under the PSFTA, Pakistan has implemented its final phasing out in March 2009, whereas Sri Lanka has completed its phasing out commitments in November 2010.Download Report
The SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) reflected the desire of the Member States to promote and sustain mutual trade and economic cooperation within the SAARC region through the exchange of tariff concessions.
The idea of liberalizing trade among SAARC countries was first mooted by Sri Lanka at the sixth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) held in Colombo in December 1991.Download Report Rules of Origin
The Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) aims at further enhancing the programme of regional economic integration through promotion of preferential trade, which commenced with the establishment of SAPTA. All countries completed the respective Trade Liberalization Program (TLP) under the Phase I and II of SAFTA, i.e. brought down tariffs to a level between 0-5 percent on all products other than those in the respective Sensitive Lists. Sri Lanka has been accorded a Special treatment in Rules of Origin under SAFTA.
The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), previously named as the Bangkok Agreement, was signed in 1975 as an initiative of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). This is the oldest preferential trade agreement among developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.Download Report Rules of Origin
The Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) was initiated by the UNCTAD to develop trading opportunities among the developing countries. Through the framework of the GSTP, its Participants aim to promote economic growth and development by capitalizing on South-South trade.Download Report
The SSLFTA was signed at the Ministerial Level on 23.01.2018 and it came into force on 01.05.2018.The SSLFTA covers goods, services, investment, intellectual properties, telecommunications, e-commerce, trade facilitation, government procurement, competition and economic and technical co-operation.Basic Customs Duties (BCDs) on imports of all products except motor vehicles, liquor & tobacco are free into Singapore on MFN basis.From the market access point of view of Sri Lanka, only 04 products at HS 8 Digits, namely Medicated or Other Samsu-alcoholic products, are included in the Negative List of Singapore.Download Report
The UK Government has launched its bespoke UK GSP Scheme “Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS)”. The scheme is introduced by the UK Government to facilitate developing countries to integrate into the global economy, create stronger trade and investment partnerships and strengthen supply chains.
DCTS will provide duty-free, quota-free trade to LDCs on everything but arms and duty-free, quota-free trade on 85% of eligible goods to most low income (LIC) and lower-middle income (LMIC) countries.
DCTS will replace the UK’s current Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). 65 countries including Sri Lanka will now benefit from DCTS.Download Report