DOC’s ‘Electronic Certificate of Origin System’ Wins Top Honors at SLASSCOM Ingenuity Awards 2024

The Electronic Certificate of Origin (eCoO) system at the Department of Commerce (DoC) received two prestigious awards including the 'National Winner for the Best Innovative Product/Project in the Government Sector' at the recently held SLASSCOM Ingenuity Awards 2024. This event celebrates innovation and excellence in Sri Lanka's technology sector and the system’s National recognition comes in addition to being named the ‘Provincial Winner - Western Province’ in the same category.

The eCoO system is a landmark achievement under the Trade Facilitation for SMEs in Sri Lanka project, implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint UN and WTO agency, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ Sri Lanka), and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The system was developed by the dynamic Sri Lankan software company Elysian Crest. 

The eCoO system represents a fully digitalized solution which simplifies and expedites the issuance of Preferential Certificates of Origin (CoO). CoOs are crucial in international trade and determine the origin of goods and their eligibility for preferential treatment under various trade agreements.

Following its launch, the system has achieved an impressive 93% reduction in the total time required to obtain a CoO and now processes applications in just 30 minutes. Moreover, it saves traders over USD 3 million yearly by eliminating all processing costs. Exporters are no longer required to visit the DoC physically, submit documents, process payments, and obtain signatures. The new system allows all these steps to be completed online, utilizing electronic signatures and certificates for trade agreements like ISFTA, PSFTA, SAFTA, APTA, GSP, GSTP, and SAPTA. 

Since its inception, over 1,300 exporters have been using the eCoO system, resulting in the processing of more than 32,000 CoOs. By significantly reducing the need for paper-based documentation, the system also contributes to a greener and more sustainable trade environment. It stands out as a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for exporters.

As part of its digitalization initiatives in Sri Lanka, ITC has helped streamline the processes of trade-related government agencies such as DoC, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), and the National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS). The eCoO system is a strong testament to ITC's commitment to facilitating trade and supporting SMEs in Sri Lanka. By providing an efficient, time-saving, and cost-effective solutions, it enables Sri Lankan exporters to thrive in a competitive global market.