Sri Lanka’s plans to establish digital free trade zone under review

Discussions to set up a digital free trade zone may soon come into effect with the objective of helping small businesses and other exporters, with Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology M. C. L. Rodrigo stating: “We recognise all types of business in the digital domain despite their sizes. Startups and freelancers are not left behind.”

Similar initiatives have been introduced by countries such as China and Malaysia in the past to make it easier for SMEs to find buyers, and store, handle and ship goods, as well as deal with documentation and regulatory processes including customs.

These also help connect SMEs to online markets, government agencies and cross border logistics payment providers.

The concept of a digital free trade zone – part of Sri Lanka’s digital economy strategy – is expected to increase the island nation’s exports.

While the plan remains under review, the necessity to increase the penetration of e-commerce knowledge and skills at the village and grassroots level is of the essence.