Countries / Territories

About the project

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    The EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance Project is funded by the European Union (EU). The project started in November 2016 with a budget of EUR 8 million. It is implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The project has been designed and is managed jointly with the Government of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Department of Commerce (DoC).

    Project objectives

    Overall objective:
    Contribute to Sri Lanka’s inclusive trade-led growth and regional integration, thereby contributing to poverty alleviation.

    Specific objective:
    Increase trade competitiveness of Sri Lankan SMEs in regional and EU markets.

    The project provides trade capacity building and technical assistance, with a strong focus on training and skills development.

    Women are heavily involved in trade and are therefore a target group when it comes to capacity building of SMEs and exporters.

    Expected Results

    Expected Result 1: Coherent trade strategy for export competitiveness designed and implemented, including policies, regulatory reforms and trade negotiations as shaped by the WTO, regional integration process, EU GSP+ scheme:

    • The project designs and provides advisory support for the implementation of a National Export Strategy (NES), under the leadership of the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka (EDB) and the private sector, for the benefit of SMEs in the country. It strengthens national capacities for the formulation and implementation of trade negotiations, establishes a Trade Remedy Unit, and supports the private sector to engage in business advocacy for coherent trade policy formulation and implementation. Additionally, the project stimulates public-private policy dialogue on pressing trade policy, regulatory and negotiation issues.

    Expected Result 2: Enhanced efficiency of cross-border procedures and SMEs’ capacities to comply with cross-border procedures for exporting to SAARC and EU:

    • The project strengthens the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) as a platform to stimulate public-private dialogue, and to support the implementation of the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) ratified by Sri Lanka in May 2016. The project creates a national trade facilitation information portal to enhance transparency and accessibility to trade related information for businesses and SMEs in particular. Additionally, the project provides advisory services for the implementation of a Single Window system, and provides capacity building trainings to SMEs to manage cross-border procedures and comply with EU and SAARC markets’ requirements.

    Expected Result 3: Improved compliance and quality infrastructure services to meet quality and SPS requirements in the regional and EU markets:

    • The project supports Sri Lanka’s efforts to integrate into the regional and multilateral trading system through a quality programme to strengthen the National Quality Infrastructure, enhances the technical capacity and improves compliance with quality and sanitary and phytosanitary requirements. The project also supports the development of local expertise with the adequate technical knowledge to provide quality related advisory services to SMEs.

    Expected Result 4: Increased SME competitiveness in export-oriented sectors (spices, food and ITO/BPO industry):

    • Sri Lankan SMEs face many challenges to access foreign markets. It adopts a sector-focused and market-driven approach underpinned by poverty reduction goals. The project supports SME export competitiveness and value addition in sectors with high potential for economic growth and development. The prioritized sectors include spices, food and Information Technology / Business Process Outsourcing (ITO/BPO) industry. The project also supports women-owned/controlled SMEs, as women are heavily involved in trade and are therefore a target group when it comes to capacity building of SMEs and exporters.

    Project beneficiaries

    Direct beneficiaries of the project are Sri Lankan SMEs particularly in the spices, food and IT/BPO sectors. Final beneficiaries are men and women - including youth - employed in export-related industries. Beneficiaries and partners also include main Government Ministries and public institutions, the private sector, and Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs).


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