Sri Lanka to benefit from United Kingdom’s Preferential Trading

Sri Lanka and United Kingdom flags - UK flag with Sri Lanka flag

The United Kingdom (UK) is implementing what it called ‘one of the most generous preferential trading schemes’ in the world and Sri Lanka is one of 65 countries benefiting from it, according to a statement from the British High Commission.

The UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) provides tariff reductions and simpler terms of trade. The scheme was announced last year, and legislation has now been finalised to bring it into force.

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton said that the UK was Sri Lanka’s second-largest export market.

“The DCTS demonstrates the UK’s continued interest in strengthening this trade relationship. We hope that Sri Lankan exporters will broaden their opportunities with the UK by making use of the wider number of products for which tariffs have been removed. The DCTS is a tangible example of the UK’s commitment to growing free and fair trade with countries like Sri Lanka, boosting economies, and supporting jobs.”

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, UK Minister for International Trade Nigel Huddleston said: “[The scheme] will create opportunities for businesses around the world, supporting livelihoods, creating jobs and diversifying local and international supply chains.”

The DCTS allows Sri Lanka to now trade with the UK tariff-free on 92% of goods, leading to increased competitiveness of Sri Lankan products in the UK market. Sri Lanka is well positioned to supply the UK due to increasing demand for sustainable, fair-trade, and healthier products. With more flexible rules of origin, it is easier for least developed countries to trade with Sri Lanka without losing tariff-free status, increasing the potential for supply chain development.

To support business take-up of the DCTS, the UK Trade Partnerships Programme (UKTP) has expanded and now covers Sri Lanka. UKTP provides technical assistance to almost-ready-to-export small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and is delivered by the International Trade Centre (ITC). The programme will primarily provide trade promotion technical assistance to a selected number of Sri Lankan SMEs, preparing them to participate successfully in international trade fairs. This will improve the visibility of Sri Lankan producers, equip exporters with the necessary tools and knowledge, and facilitate their entry into new markets.