Mutual Recognition Agreement on Standards on India-Sri Lanka Agenda
21 December 2015
The 4th Commerce Secretary meeting between India and Sri Lanka, held in New Delhi on 21 December 2015, agreed to include the signing of a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on Standards to boost Sri Lankan exports to India, in the agenda of an upcoming meeting in February 2016. Workshops will also be held by Indian officials in Sri Lanka to discuss Indian standards, regulations, certificate of origin and other measures with Sri Lankan exporters and officials.
A study by Verite Research, a Colombo-based think-tank, with support from Lanka Fruit and Vegetables, Producers, Processors and Exporters and the National Chamber of Exporters, found that non-recognition of Sri Lanka's standards certificates in India acts as a major non-tariff barrier between the two countries, affecting growth of Sri Lankan exports in India, despite the existing India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. Quality testing measures required by India often lead to constraints in cost and supply efficiency/reliability for Sri Lankan food exporters, with test results taking 20-30 days to arrive. An MRA on standards will automatically allow products certified by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution to enter India.
India and Sri Lanka are also set to finalize the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to further enhance their bilateral economic ties by liberalizing Sri Lanka’s labor market in the IT sector and the ship/boat building sector. Through ETCA, Sri Lanka hopes to take part in opportunities created by the Government of India's 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' campaigns.