U.S. Embassy Colombo Champions Trade Security at Inaugural Sri Lanka Strategic Trade Forum

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On June 26, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, in partnership with the Sri Lanka Department of Import and Export Control, launched the first Sri Lanka Strategic Trade Forum. This event brought together a diverse audience from government and the private sector to address critical aspects of trade security and explore the development of competitive practices for global trade hubs.  

U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung delivering remarks at the inaugural Sri Lanka Strategic Trade Forum on June 26 in Colombo. 

Following a welcome from Department of Import-Export Controller General T.T. Upulmalee Premathilaka, trade regulators from Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore showcased their national strategies for overseeing the trade and transshipment of strategic items. These items are any ‘dual use’ goods or technologies that can be used for both commercial and military applications and play a vital role in advancing innovation across various sectors, including software development, aviation, medicine, and sanitation.    

Experts from Sri Lanka’s shipping, banking, logistics, and chemical sectors joined international experts to share best practices for risk management at the Sri Lanka Strategic Trade Forum June 26 in Colombo. 

U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung emphasized the balance necessary for robust trade, stating, “The challenge lies in achieving an equilibrium between enabling smooth trade and ensuring robust security measures. The United States works together with our partners to cultivate trading environments that support legitimate operations and restrict illegal activities, so that countries can not only foster economic growth but also develop that competitive edge within the global marketplace.”  

Officials from Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines share their systems for balancing trade efficiency and security at the Sri Lanka Strategic Trade Forum June 26 in Colombo. 

The forum also featured insights from Singapore’s Centre for Trade Excellence and the U.S. Department of Commerce as well as Sri Lankan experts from CRDF Global, McLarens Maritime Academy, the Trade Finance Association of Bankers, and the Hub Operators Association. These specialists provided valuable tips and strategies for establishing robust compliance practices to effectively navigate the complexities of a dynamic regulatory landscape. Director General of Trade and Investment Policies at the Ministry of Finance K.A. Vimalenthirarajah was the Chief Guest at the event.   

Co-sponsored by the Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Gloir.K, Joint Apparel Association Forum, and Shippers’ Academy, and funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) Program, the forum underscores the commitment to enhancing trade security. The EXBS Program collaborates globally with government and industry partners to strengthen strategic trade management, including legal frameworks, licensing, customs enforcement, and border security. In Sri Lanka, EXBS contributes over $500,000 annually to support training, technical assistance, equipment, and international exchanges.   

To learn more about the United States’ capacity-building work in Sri Lanka, visit: https://lk.usembassy.gov/  and https://www.usaid.gov/srilanka and follow @USEmbassySL on social media.  

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