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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 727

WTO bolstering support to Sri Lanka

Colombo, 15 February, (Asiantribune.com):

In a fresh boost to Sri Lanka’s international trade push, the global trade body World Trade Organisation (WTO) is stepping up its support to the country. “We thank WTO for its latest support initiatives on Sri Lanka.

As a founder member of the WTO, we too are well committed to the WTO policy framework” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 14 February.

Minister Bathiudeen said this upon learning the WTO’s newest offer from Nimal Karunatilake, the newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva. On 13 February, Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO has informed Ambassador Karunatilake: “WTO is willing to give more trade capacity and technical assistance to trade related institutions in Sri Lanka.”

• ‘We thank WTO for on-going assistance!’ - Rishad

• Sixth Lankan ambassador to the WTO now in Geneva

• ‘Early wrap-up of Doha Agenda welcome’ – Amb. Karunathilleke

Director General Lamy was addressing Nimal Karunatilake, the newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) after Ambassador Karunatilake presented his credentials to Director Lamy at WTO headquarters in Geneva on 13 February.

Ambassador Karunatilake is the sixth Lankan Ambassador to present credentials to the world trade facilitation body with a global membership accounting for 97% of global trade. Ambassador Karunatilake holds a career record of nearly 28 years at the Department of Commerce, Colombo and his previous overseas assignments include Sri Lanka Missions in Baghdad, Tokyo, Manila, Paris and Washington D. C.

“WTO is willing to give more trade related capacity and technical assistance to Sri Lanka” said Lamy. “WTO appreciates Sri Lanka’s long term commitment. In fact Sri Lanka was a founder member of the WTO, a fact we respect highly” said DG Lamy who thereafter briefed Ambassador Karunatilake on the current state of play in the Doha Round of Trade Negotiations, which is commonly known as the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), with special emphasis on areas where the WTO Members have been able to achieve a considerably progress in consensus building.

Apprising Director General Lamy, Ambassador Karunatilake said: “Sri Lanka, being a founder member of both the GATT and the WTO, remained committed to the rule-based, multilateral trading system in promoting global trade. Sri Lanka was the first South Asian state to introduce market-friendly economic reforms and the unilateral trade liberalization measures introduced as far back as 1970s had made Sri Lanka one of the most business-friendly nations in the region. We hope that any eventual outcome of the DDA would effectively address the specific issues and challenges faced by small and vulnerable economies like Sri Lanka” and added:

“An early conclusion of the DDA would particularly be beneficial to the Sri Lankan economy, which was going through a crucial phase of transition after nearly three decades of terrorism.”

Stressing Sri Lanka’s appreciation for the WTOs support, Ambassador Karunathilleke said: “Sri Lanka was deeply appreciative of the valuable cooperation the WTO continued to extend toward trade-related capacity building in Sri Lanka through various training programs, awareness creation seminars. Sri Lanka is looking forward to a successful outcome of the DDA that would benefit all stakeholders.”

- Asian Tribune -

Nimal Karunatilake, the newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO (right) greets Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO (left) on 13 February in Geneva.
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