|Monday, 22 November 2004|
Lanka a priority on IMF, WTO agenda:
Financial aid to tackle balance of payment problems after MFA
By Sudarshana Perera
London The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will provide financial aid for developing countries to tackle the balance of payments problems following the termination of the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA) at the end of the year and Sri Lanka has been a priority in IMF and WTO agenda, said the Official Spokesman of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Keith Rockwell.
The 'Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM)' initiative has been adopted following the representations by affected countries to IMF to provide financial aid to textile exporting countries to withstand the phasing out of the MFA.
Rockwell told the 'Daily News' that the IMF and the World Bank's effort to provide advice to find a niche market for textiles will significantly enhance assistance for smaller exporters.
He said that the Sri Lankan government with its industry representatives made strong representations to WTO and added that the trade giant has come out with viable solutions to help Sri Lanka to tackle the problem.
'We as the WTO are fully committed to provide the necessary trade adjustment system to affected countries including Sri Lanka which will allow them to have access towards the manufacturing sector or non-agricultural sector. It is unlikely that the quota mechanism will be extended', he said.
Rockwell called upon developing countries to bring down higher import duties which are seen as an obstacle to compete with global giants such as China, which stands to make huge gains in major export markets in the US and Europe.
Under the mechanism the IMF would be ready to discuss with qualifying countries facing such balance of payments shortfalls, new arrangements in the upper credit tranches, the Extended Fund Facility or the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.
He said that South-South cooperation for which Sri Lanka is a member will create a new trade geography for greater trade and economic cooperation between developing countries in different regions.
The Preferential Trade Agreement a possible out-come of the South-South cooperation will allow them to better withstand the termination of the MFA', he said.
He said that poor textile-exporting countries could only expect help on a case-by-case basis.
Sri Lanka's Apparel Sector under the leadership of the Joint Apparel Association (JAFF) joined hands recently with the Global Alliance for Fair Trade in Textiles (GAFTT) to urge the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to ensure the implementation of fair trade practices to withstand the termination of the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA).
For the first time in Sri Lanka, fabric and apparel accessories manufacturers have also formed an association to strongly lobby for the growth of the apparel and textile manufacturing industry in the country to better face the challenge emerging from the termination of the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA).
Produced by Lake House