Trade Policy Mandate

  • Execute at Multicultural Level
    • Safeguarding and promoting Sri Lanka's economic, trade & commercial interests at multilateral fora through effective representation and participation at discussions and negotiations at all levels (i.e., decision making and technical) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and liaising & cooperating with likeminded WTO member countries to form common positions on issues of significant interest to Sri Lanka.
    • Conducting negotiations to secure market access by gaining tariff concessions under non-reciprocal preferential trade agreements such as Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSPs) for Sri Lanka’s exports.
  • Execute at Regional Level
    • Conducting negotiations to secure preferential market access for Sri Lanka’s exports under regional reciprocal trade agreements, such as, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Regional Trading Arrangements (RTAs).
      • Agreements under negotiation are as follows.
        • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Countries involved: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand
  • Execute at Bilateral Level
    • Conducting negotiations to secure preferential market access for Sri Lanka’s exports under bilateral reciprocal trade agreements, such as, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Regional Trading Arrangements (RTAs).
      • Agreements under negotiation are as follows.
        1. China Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA)
        2. Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement with India (ETCA)
        3. Sri Lanka Thailand Free Trade Agreement (SLTFTA)
        4. Bangladesh Sri Lanka FTA


Trade Representation Mandate

  • Overseas Commercial Representation: The Commercial Representation comprises of 33 DOC officers serving in 31 Sri Lanka Missions aboard in 28 countries, who are engaged in promoting and safeguarding Sri Lanka’s commercial and economic interests in the host countries.
  • Organizing/coordinating Joint Commissions /Working Groups and Trade & Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs)
  • Monitor market access related developments, both in tariff and non-tariff nature including Non- Tariff Measures (NTMs) and Non- Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in main foreign export markets and take coordinated actions by making effective & adequate representations, with at bilateral, regional & multilateral levels for mitigating or eliminating the negative impact of such measures, together with complying with NTMs  on Sri Lanka’s exports.
  • Initiate coordinated actions to address specific market entry technical barriers to trade (TBT) in the import markets by formulating requisite technical regulations/ standards/conformity assessment procedures at national level and obtaining approval/endorsement from the Regional /International Standard setting bodies.

Trade Facilitation Mandate

  • Expeditious issuance of COOs to facilitate exports under the following preferential schemes and regional, bilateral and free trade agreements.
  1. Generalized System of Preference (GSP)
  2. Global system of Trade Preference (GSTP)
  3. SAARC Preferential Trading Agreement (SAPTA)
  4. South-Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)
  5. Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA)
  6. Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA)
  7. Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA)
  • Advising and guiding exporters on becoming eligible for Certificates of Origin (COOs) under FTA, including consultations on rules of origin, production, procedural requirements, etc.
  • Hosting of “Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal” with up-to-date information related to export and import procedures of 41 organizations, which disseminates all the requirements they need to comply with to import or export a specific good from and into Sri Lanka, in response to a single query.
  • Assistance to resolve trade complaints between a foreign party and a Sri Lankan party through amicable means.
  • Analyzing & compiling responses of defense when Sri Lanka’s exports are subject to countervailing duty & safeguard investigations initiated by the importing countries and guiding and assisting the exporters to compile their responses of defense.
  • Conducting awareness seminars/workshops on market access opportunities available under FTAs, RTAs, GSPs and various markets, where Commercial Officers are stationed.
  • Organizing training programs/ workshops with foreign resource personnel in Colombo and in regional cities on the topics related to new developments in international trade and WTO agreements.
  • Dissemination of information on market access related developments, in periodic or random nature, both tariff and non-tariff measures in nature in the overseas markets and analyzing the impact of such measures on Sri Lanka’s exports, including advocacy for addressing supply side constraints.
  • Conducting research on market access for existing and potential Sri Lankan products.
  • Recommendation for Residence Visas for Non- BOI related foreign operators.
  • Declaration of Credit Agencies under the Mortgage Act.



“Raising living standards of the people through international trade relations”


“To develop and promote Sri Lanka’s foreign trade relations at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels by the effective implementation of government trade policy, with a view to raising the standards of living and realizing a higher quality of life through the increase of total production, income and employment levels, thereby actively contributing to the overall economic growth of Sri Lanka.”

The DoC is responsible for foreign trade policy formulation, and all related coordination and implementation matters, with the objective of developing and promoting Sri Lanka's foreign trade relations at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.


The Department of Commerce is headed by the Director General of Commerce, and its work is carried out under four divisions, namely, Multilateral Trade Affairs, Bilateral Trade Relations, Regional Cooperation and Trade Promotion.

Major Activities for the Year 2019

  • Continuation of participation at WTO deliberations at ministerial and senior official levels.
  • Negotiating for special and differential treatment for Sri Lanka as a developing country and Special and Vulnerable Economics (SVE)
  • Monitoring of Trade Policy Reviews of major trading partners of Sri Lanka
  • Negotiating for Geographical Indications (GI) for tea, cinnamon and sapphires
  • Educating business community on the tariff and non-tariff measures of Sri Lanka’s trading partners
  • Seeking technical assistance for human resource development from the institutions such as World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), International Trade Centre (ITC) and other intuitions
  • Continuous evaluation of developments of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Preferential Trading Arrangements (PTAs) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) of other countries that have an impact on Sri Lanka’s trade
  • Conducting awareness campaigns for the business community
  • Dealing with CEPAs with India & Pakistan
  • Conducting review meetings to address issues emanating from PTAs, FTAs
  • Conducting Joint Commissions with China, Egypt, Russia, Malaysia, Turkey, Kuwait etc
  • Working on Trade and Investment framework Agreement (TIFA) with USA
  • Working on European Union (EU) Cooperation
  • Conducting market surveys for diversification of products & markets
  • Organizing/coordinating of Sri Lanka’s participation in trade fairs
  • Organizing inward and outward trade delegations
  • Serving the trade inquiries received from Sri Lanka and abroad

Latest News

View all news