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 28 are manned by the Professional Staff of the Department of Commerce.

Trade Promotion

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Research & Development

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“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

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