Sri Lanka will connect the SME apparel exporters to the global customs electronic system soon.
Sri Lanka Customs is fully implementing the ASYCUDA World (AW) system and operations will be fully online by 31st March 2013 for the trade to be facilitated electronically with no operational delays and at a minimal cost.
"If our current preparations continue as planned, we can link our SME apparel exporters' shipments to the ASYCUDA global e-system by May 2013. This could enhance our SME apparel sector exports thereby enhancing our US$ 2.8 billion apparel volume" Rishad Bathiyutheen, Minister of Industry and Commerce said.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has taken measures to facilitate the electronic trade in response to the requests made by the SME apparel exporters to take new initiatives regarding the exports. The Ministry's initial cost for implementation in this global system is US$15,000.
Over 220 registered SME apparel manufacturers would benefit from ASYCUDA's apparel export module to be commenced by Industry and Commerce Ministry in May.
Once they are linked, the SME apparel exporters under ASYCUDA are no longer required to submit their export shipment documentations in multiple copies to various agencies such as Industry Ministry and Customs. The documents can be electronically submitted to all agencies at once and receive export shipment clearance immediately.
According to the Ministry, in 2012, Sri Lanka's apparel exports earned US$ 2.83 billion of which US$1.53 billion was from the US and US$ 1.86 billion was from the EU despite the challenging economic situation in these markets.
Last year, 71 SME garment exporters shipped US$ 46.7 million worth apparel from Sri Lanka showing their strong unrealized growth potential. Among the leading such exporters were Crest Fashion Ltd, Queens Work Wear and FNTZ Garments.
ASYCUDA (Automated SYstem for CUstoms Data) is a computerized customs management system developed in Geneva by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to cover most foreign trade procedures. The software system handles manifests and customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit, and suspense procedures.