Bilateral Trade Relations
- The DoC is the national focal point responsible for the evaluation and negotiation of new bilateral trade agreements, and the implementation of existing bilateral agreements
- At present, the DoC is responsible for the implementation of the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) and the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA)
- The DoC is also the certifying agency for certificates of origin under these Agreements
- The DoC also functions as the focal point in Sri Lanka for joint commissions on trade and economic co-operation. These joint commissions provide a mechanism for inter-governmental cooperation in trade relations which is extremely beneficial for the development and expansion of Sri Lanka’s exports to the countries concerned. The DoC is responsible for bilateral trade negotiations under these joint commissions from the stage of their formulation, and with respect to coordination of their work and implementation of their decisions.
Regional Trade Relations
- The DoC is the national focal point responsible for the evaluation and negotiation of new regional trade agreements, and the continued negotiation and implementation of existing regional trade agreements
- The DoC presently functions as the national focal point for the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA)/South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA), the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement, BIMST-EC and IOR-RAC etc.
- The DoC is the certifying agency for Certificates of Origin under the SAFTA/SAPTA, APTA, GSTP and GSP.
- While on the subject, it is pertinent to mention that the first drafts of the South Asia Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAFTA), the Indo - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and the Pakistan - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement were prepared by the Department of Commerce.
Multilateral Trade Relations
- The DoC functions as national focal point for all WTO and WTO related affairs in Sri Lanka.
- Since Sri Lanka became a founding member of GATT in 1948 and the WTO in 1995, this Department has effectively discharged its functions relating to multilateral trade negotiations, in particular those concluded under the Uruguay Round.
- This Department is the central coordinating agency for all multilateral trade agreements negotiated and currently being implemented under the WTO.
- As part of this role, the DoC has established a sub-committee system comprising of 10 sub-committees with members from line Ministries and Trade Chambers to coordinate the implementation of the WTO Agreements in Sri Lanka. One of the achievements of this Committee-system has been the drafting of national legislation to deal with dumping and subsidized exports.
Overseas Trade Representation
Overseas trade representation is a significant subject falling under the purview of the Ministry. The Trade Commissioners' posts abroad amounting to 25 are manned by the Professional Staff of the Department of Commerce.