‘Exporters perturbed over SLPA tariffs’ | Sunday Observer

‘Exporters perturbed over SLPA tariffs’

The upward tariff revision by the SLPA (Sri Lanka Ports Authority) has become a controversial matter, raising the concern of exporters and importers, at a time Sri Lanka is trying to find its position back in the world map as a competitive exporter, a media release from the Export Development Board (EDB) said.

The SLPA seems adamant to go-ahead with the implementation of the new tariffs disregarding the concerns raised by the industry.

Though the players engaged in international trade continuously call for the tariffs to remain unchanged, it is unfortunate that the authorities are in favour of the upward revision.

A tariff revision was imposed on January 1, 2019 without any prior notice.

This caused confusion, inconvenience, disruption of business and losses to the trade. Eventually when the matter was raised, it was agreed to revoke the Cabinet decision.

This resulted in the former tariff (which was in force before January 1, 2019) to be re-implemented from February 7. Industry sources said that the additional tariffs charged have not yet been refunded.

A consultation has been conducted with representatives of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, National Chamber of Exporters, The Shippers’ Council, The Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Sri Lanka Logistics and Freight Forwarders Association, Joint Apparel Association Forum, Association of Clearing and Forwarding Agents, Ceylon Freight and Logistics Association and several product associations. Stakeholders highlighted the adverse effects that can emerge from an upward revision of SLPA tariffs.

While the industry has been called upon to provide a detailed analysis on the impact of the upward revision considering the trade statistics of the past 20 years, sources said that it is not practical to collect data and analyse due to its complexity and they questioned the relevance of such detailed calculation to understand the impact of any cost increase of this nature. The EDB is very much concerned of the impact of this arbitrary rate increases on the competitiveness of export products.

The cost of import of parts, accessories and raw materials for export products will increase due to the increase in SLPA rates which will impact the competitiveness of the products.

The EDB hopes to open this matter for public discussion considering its severe impact on trade and to resolve the matter fast, to ensure the smooth functioning of trade as the country cannot afford to loose any momentum as it could hamper the export targets of the country and also the effective implementation of smart strategies such as the National Export Strategy (NES), the release added.