‘Our apparel earnings historic, but sector lacks hitech’ - Rishad | Daily News

‘Our apparel earnings historic, but sector lacks hitech’ - Rishad

UNCTAD Senior Researcher, Dr. Rashmi Banga, Sri Lanka DG Commerce, Sonali Wijeratne, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen  and Centre for WTO Studies’, Dr Abhijit Das at UNCTAD backed first Senior Policymakers Session on  Digital Trade and Industrialisation at the event.
UNCTAD Senior Researcher, Dr. Rashmi Banga, Sri Lanka DG Commerce, Sonali Wijeratne, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen and Centre for WTO Studies’, Dr Abhijit Das at UNCTAD backed first Senior Policymakers Session on Digital Trade and

Sri Lanka Department of Commerce has created history as it jointly launched the first ever Policymakers’ Session on Digitalisation of Trade and Industries series by UNCTAD for UNCTAD member countries on March 8 in Colombo.

“Our apparels, a major manufacturing export, is world class and this sector has reported biggest export earnings in history last year. This sector needs digitalization support,” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen on March 8, 2018.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the UNCTAD backed first Senior Policymakers’ Workshop on Digital Trade and Industrialisation on March 8 at Cinnamon Lake, Colombo. Joining the launch of the high level two-day session were DG Commerce, Sonali Wijeratne, UNCTAD Senior Researcher, Dr. Rashmi Banga, Centre for WTO Studies’, Dr Abhijit Das and top policy makers and Commerce Secretaries from South Asia, ASEAN countries and even Europe.

“Sri Lanka faces a number of challenges on digitalisation. These include slower growth of digital skills, and the need to successfully digitalize the export sectors including apparel. Our understanding is that industrialisation and manufacturing are drivers of growth in Sri Lanka’s international trade. Our apparels, a major manufacturing export, is world class and this sector has reported biggest export earnings in history last year at US$ 4.8 Bn, a 3% increase from 2016. This sector needs digitalization support for its advancement,” said Minister Bathiudeen.

“This UNCTAD initiative acknowledges E-Commerce as a tool to drive growth, narrow the digital divide and generate digital solutions for Developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The multilateral trading system has recognized that digitalization has its positive impact on trade and has included it in their agendas. Along with nine other countries Sri Lanka has signed up as a member of the group on 'Friends of E-Commerce for Development’. UNCTAD believes that the value of global e-commerce is huge -which was $ 25 trillion in 2015 and continuing to grow."

"UNCTAD also says that e-commerce has great impacts on the world economy. What is important here is that Sri Lanka should not miss this global e-commerce opportunity. In this background today’s session holds special significance for the Asian developing countries including Sri Lanka. I praise the Department of Commerce for joining UNCTAD in this global initiative.”

“UNCTAD’s first ever policy session on Digitalisation of Trade and Industrials Policy is unveiled in Colombo today,” said UNCTAD Senior Researcher, Dr. Rashmi Banga.

"This is a first in a series of such session aiming to build country capacities. The second session in this ongoing series will be held in South Africa. This is not a series of negotiations with any country but rather is about building policy capacity of the countries, specially forging South – South cooperation. At present UNCTAD has already been requested by several countries to come and support in formulating their digitalisation of trade and industrialisation policies. A completed Digitalisation of Trade and Industrials Policy helps a country especially when that country enters any trade agreements.”

Sri Lanka DG Commerce Sonali Wijeratne said that this is an important event for DoC in its partnership with UNCTAD.

Colombo’s two day sessions, concluded on March 9 was included working sessions on e-commerce data inclusion, e-commerce in WTO framework, digital infrastructure development in South Asia, Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and digitalisation of South, WTO’s Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and Digitalisation, regional digital cooperation in South, and country perspectives on digital trade and the WTO.


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