Sri Lanka’s non-BOI apparel exporters have been given access to UNCTAD’s ASYCUDA World, the premier online customs declarations service. This is an important step that will save many thousands of man hours spent on customs declarations annually.

With the global recession now behind us, Sri Lanka’s apparels industry is seeing a marked increase in revenue compared to previous years. The connection to the ASYCUDA World network allows the industry to be more efficient, as it has eliminated a major bottleneck in the exports process.

Until recently, all customs documents were submitted manually in a long and tedious process. With ASYCUDA World, apparel manufacturers will have the information and forms that they need online, all in an easy-to-access virtual location. Submissions will be instantaneous, as opposed to physically transporting many copies of bulky documents to the customs office. All relevant parties will be informed electronically, and approvals will be given online. The effort apparel manufacturers save on this process each year has been estimated to be 8,200 man hours. Less documentation, less bureaucracy, and fewer trips to customs offices allow Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers to concentrate on their core competency – producing high-quality garments for export.

This implementation has been lauded by the industry and the government alike, as it has several major benefits over the manual system. The savings the system provides in terms of transaction costs, documentation fees, and transport were among the most important mentioned. ASYCUDA World is also more eco-friendly and carbon-efficient than the manual system, which uses a lot of paperwork. Moving forward, this can be considered the first step toward creating a completely paperless customs declaration process.

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