Following a long and illustrious journey spanning eighty two (82) years, the Imports’ Section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has earned an unparalleled reputation for being a leading association with the capacity, clout and the ability to influence and assist the government in their policies and decisions which in turn has had an impact on the business community of the country. Undoubtedly, those who led the association from its inception in 1935, toiled hard and worked tirelessly to gain the respect it now receives.
Today, the Imports’ Section represents a membership that accounts for 52% of the government’s revenue collection by way of import duties. It is also a key stakeholder in the country’s economic development process. Engagement as opposed to confrontation is the Import Section’s principle policy and the philosophy which has led to the resolution of members’ issues with great success.
The association has launched a number of new initiatives in partnership with relevant ministries’, border agencies and such other bodies involved in facilitating trade in the country. One such initiative has been to enable acceptance of electronic signatures and electronic documentation by governments departments, including Sri Lanka Customs. The time and costs expended in complying with numerous government border regulations are two of the key factors that impede economic growth. Thereby shifting from a manual documentation system to a fully functional electronic processing platform will help save money and time for traders which in turn will improve Sri Lanka’s trade competitiveness and help the country ascend a few notches in the “ease of doing business” rankings.
In the year under review, the association’s Executive Committee, has been instrumental in transforming the competitiveness of the association amidst serious challenges. Nevertheless, this transformation has resulted in deriving major benefits for importers, exporters, wholesalers and most importantly, the general public of the country. With the Government unfolding its new economic reform programs and policies designed to stimulate economic growth, diverse changes are expected in many areas that will impact the country’s trade. In such a scenario, it is imperative that the Executive Council play a vital and proactive role to meet these challenges and safeguard the interests of our members.
As the Chairman of the Imports’ Section, I undertake to ensure that our voices are heard and our industry is safeguarded which in turn will benefit our country overall. In this endeavour, I count upon your support, guidance and cooperation.
Finally, I wish to thank the Executive Committee for their support and encouragement, and the Chamber Secretariat for their valuable contribution.