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UK DCTS provides more benefits for Sri Lanka’s export sector

The new scheme Developing Countries Trading Scheme of UK (DCTS) has been designed to grow free and fair trade with 65 countries, including Sri Lanka.

The official delegation from the Department for International Trade in the UK visited the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) on 16 March to discuss the opportunities for Sri Lanka’s export sector under Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) to be launched by the Government of UK.

Trade Preferences Policy Manager for Sri Lanka Sofie Kinsey, Overseas Trade Policy Advisor for South Asia Fabian Hartwell, and British High Commission in Colombo Deputy Head of Trade and Investment Asanthi Fernando participated in the discussions at the EDB with the objective of identifying potential export sectors for Sri Lanka to expand in the UK market utilizing the UK DCTS.

Currently more than 6,000 product lines from Sri Lanka can enjoy zero duty access for the UK market under Enhanced Frame Work preference scheme and another 156 product lines also will be added to the same list under UK DCTS. Being a beneficiary country under UK DCTS, Sri Lanka will become more competitive to further expand in the UK market.

EDB Chairman and Chief Executive Suresh de Mel emphasized the importance of UK DCTS since the UK is the second largest export destination for Sri Lanka with a total export value of $ 966.04 million and a total trade value of $ 1,170 million in 2022. Sri Lanka’s main export products to the UK in 2022 were apparel, engineering products, coconut-based products and rubber-based products.

It was identified that some sectors from Sri Lanka like tea, rubber gloves, animal feed, ship building/boat building, gherkins, kithul treacle and rice flour have a potential to expand in the UK market under new DCTS.

The EDB requested assistance from the UK Government to promote the potential product sectors in the UK market with the purpose of enhancing the utilization of UK DCTS.

The British team assured their cooperation for Sri Lanka to strengthen the presence of value added products in the UK market by enhancing the utilization of the new preferential arrangement.

The UK Government held a series of events in Colombo for their new trade preferences scheme – the Developing Country Trading Scheme (DCTS), which will launch this year.

British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton OBE said: The UK’s new Developing Countries Trading Scheme provides Sri Lankan and UK businesses with a fresh opportunity to diversify and deepen supply chains and reduce the cost of exporting to the UK.

UK officials showcased high potential value chains and products that can benefit from the new scheme. This was based on research into UK retailers’ and consumers’ buying considerations, as well as insights from Sri Lankan producers, trade programs and policymakers.

While Sri Lanka exports numerous high value products to the UK including textiles, tea and rubber, there has been a steady decline in trade volumes between Sri Lanka and the UK since 2018.

Under UK trade preferences, Sri Lankan exports will benefit from generous tariff cuts and new products will be brought into scope, facilitating access to the UK market for Sri Lankan businesses across a wide range of industries.

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