Trade facilitation has been widely recognized as an important tool for trade expansion by both the developed and the developing countries. Automation of systems and the use of Information Technology (IT) in the import/export process, though not a panacea to trade facilitation, can reduce cumbersome paper work, rent seeking, etc., involved in the trading process. A majority of the developing and the least developed countries (LDCs) have introduced some kind of automated system in their import/export process. Sri Lanka Customs too has been using ASYCUDA since 1994 (this was later upgraded to ASYCUDA++). With the current EDI facilities available, the traders and agents in Sri Lanka have the facility of processing documents electronically, albeit partially. Since the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in the Sri Lankan economy, this study aims to understand the impact of IT in trade facilitation on SMEs. The specific objectives of this study are, a) to examine the extent of automation in trade facilitation in Sri Lanka, and b) assess the impact of automation on SMEs. The study also draws upon results from stakeholder interviews to assess the impact of automation on enterprises in the country.
The Impact of Information Technology in Trade Facilitation on Small and Medium Enterprises in Sri Lanka