Multilateral Trade

Sri Lanka, a founder member of the GATT/WTO, continues to be a strong promoter of free trade.  Its foreign trade regime is characterised by a combination of the GATT/WTO disciplines and a series of market-oriented reforms, which were introduced unilaterally by several successive governments since 1977.  The liberal trade policies strive at further integrating Sri Lanka into the global economy, while holding in balance the domestic stakeholder interests.  

Imports are primarily regulated through border tariffs with hardly any quantitative restrictions. Sri Lanka currently maintains a simplified four-band tariff structure, where over 50% of the tariff lines enjoy zero (MFN) duty.  

Classification             Customs Duty (%)       
       No. of Tariff Lines      
Essential inputs, not manufactured locally    0.0 
Raw materials & semi raw materials 7.5 184
Intermediate goods 15.0 1,605
End-user products 25.0 1,412

However, it is pertinent to mention that a few product categories such as alcohol, cigarettes, perfumes and automobiles are subject to higher tariffs.

Preferential Trade

Sri Lanka is a signatory to the following free / preferential trade agreements, which grant tariff concessions to a wide range of products in a number of key markets.

- Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement
- Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement
- South-Asian Free Trade Area (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka)
- Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (Bangladesh, China, India, South Korea, Laos and Sri Lanka)
- Global System of Trade Preferences – GSTP (Over 40 countries)

Sri Lanka also enjoys preferential market access under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) schemes of the following countries.

Australia    Canada            European Union
Japan        New Zealand    Norway (GSP+)    
Russia        Switzerland     United States


An ideal destination for trade and investment

The 2013 “Ease of Doing Business” Survey by the World Bank Group has ranked Sri Lanka as the easiest country to do business within the entire South Asian region.  A host of factors, including peaceful and business friendly environment, supportive government policies, educated and easily adaptable workforce, strategic location and connectivity, preferential access to key markets, fast improving social infrastructure and quality of life have made Sri Lanka an ideal destination for both trade and investment.


Useful Links


 Department of Commerce
 Department of Sri Lanka Customs  customs
 Board of Investment of Sri Lanka BOI-2
 Department of Registrar of Companies drc
National Intellectual Property Office NIPO
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
sri lanka travel
Sri Lanka Export Development Board EDB-2





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