The main trade policy instrument since 2004, the five band customs duty structure was simplified. The tariff bands of 0, 2.5, 6, 15 and 28%, were reduced to a four band customs duty structure of 0, 5, 15, and 30 per cent, with effect from June 1, 2010.
The 2.5% customs duty of the earlier five band structure which was mostly applicable on importation of raw materials and machinery, was abolished and these items were placed at the zero band. Intermediate and finished goods were placed on the middle and upper rates of 5, 15 and 30%.
The average import duty rate, calculated based on total imports and customs duties, decreased to 5% in 2010 from 7.8% in 2009. Customs duty and Special Commodity Levy (SCL) applicable on selected consumer and intermediate goods such as petrol, diesel, milk powder, maize, palm oil, wheat grain, malt extract and PVC leather cloths,were reduced to stabilise price fluctuations in the domestic economy.
Customs duties on the import of gold were also removed with effect from March 1, 2010.
It is envisaged that this will facilitate more imports through formal channels and boost jewellery manufacturing and exports.
The 15% surcharge on customs duty payable on imported goods, was removed with effect from June 1, 2010, while import duties on motor vehicles were reduced by 50%.
In order to promote Sri Lanka as a shopping destination and improve people’s living standards, import duties on electronic goods and internationally branded products such as mobile phones, wristwatches and cameras were reduced by 90%.
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