August, 22, 2016
The country’s trade agenda received a boost this week with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce launching a platform to enhance the awareness level of its members on the country’s trade policies. The initiative, called the ‘Trade Intelligence for the Private Sector’ or ‘TIPS’, will focus on the CCC’s engagements on trade policy issues under a common umbrella.
Explaining the rationale for TIPS, Chief Economist of the CCC Mr. Anushka Wijesinha noted, “We recognized that Chamber members and the wider business community are interested in, and concerned about, the implications of trade liberalization and trade agreements on their activities. They want more insight and intelligence to help them navigate these changes. We realized that the Chamber is already engaging in many activities that already do this, and the TIPS initiative focuses and expands these efforts in order to have more impact.”
Despite concerns on how trade liberalization would change the status quo for existing businesses, there is widespread support for forging more trade pacts, recognizing their potential to boost market access for exports as well as Sri Lanka’s attractiveness to investors. According to the participants surveyed at the concluded Sri Lanka Economic Summit, which was organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, an overwhelming majority of them (70%) agreed that ‘Economic and trade agreements with partner countries would boost Sri Lanka’s economy’. Only 2% disagreed, while 28% were undecided.
The ‘TIPS’ initiative will include existing and new reports on trade policy issues, information and data bulletins on trade trends; seminars, workshops and trainings on trade issues; and bringing in the voice of the members to influence the trade agreements. Through the TIPS initiative, the Chamber will also bring in expert resource persons to deliver strategic insights on trade issues to the members, in cooperation with international organisations. The CCC will also leverage on the TIPS initiative in its engagements with government, foreign missions, bilateral and multilateral organizations, and the wider business community.