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2018 International Consumer Rights Day today

(UTV|COLOMBO) – Sri Lanka will celebrate its 2018 International Consumer Rights Day today (15) with the first ever national consultation on domestic digital marketplace. And the landmark initiative, which aims to update domestic policies and regulatory laws to face digital transactions, is backed by the European Union and, a leading global expert on digital laws and content from International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva has already arrived in Colombo to steer the two day sessions.

“We thank the European Union for its support to this national initiative by the Consumer Affairs Authority under me. We also welcome experts from ITC, Geneva for this consultation” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen during his meeting with top officials on Wednesday (14) and added: “It is time we update our laws to safeguard rights of Sri Lankan e-commerce consumers.” Ottawa University Law Professor and author on Internet Law Michael Geist (Full Professor-University of Ottawa and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law) who is also an Expert attached to Geneva’s International Trade Centre (ITC) is now in Colombo for March 15’s event kick-off. Professor Geist also sits on the Board of CIRA- the Canadian Internet Registration Authority that manages Canada’s .ca domains.

“The aim of the 2-day consultations is to bring recommendations on key legislative and regulatory priorities for establishing modernized consumer e commerce law framework” said the Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Hasitha Thilakeratne.

Consumers International has declared 2018 Consumer Rights Day theme as “Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer” and introducing the twitter handle #BetterDigitalWorld.

According to CAA, the existing regulation on e-commerce in Sri Lanka is weak and therefore a well- functioning regulatory framework, protecting all the stakeholders involved in e-commerce, is key to promoting e-commerce. “To address this timely need, the CAA has initiated this public private dialogue to understand and critically evaluate the existing regulatory framework of the Sri Lankan digital market, e-commerce” said Chairman Thilakeratne.

The dialogue is held in the context of current trade negotiations and to formulate recommendations to facilitate legislative and regulatory priorities. It is facilitated within the framework of the EU- Sri Lanka Trade Related Assistance Project. The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the lead implementing agency of this project in collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka. This two day session will take place at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo on 15th and 16th March.

Among the participants at this two day forum are regulatory agencies, policy makers in the ICT sector, industry organizations, university academics, researchers, digital service providers, online retailers, and digital commerce consumers to present their valuable views, insights and proposals under different perspectives. Eminent speakers from various sectors of the e-commerce industry have been invited to present and share their expertise in different areas such as, unlocking the potential of the e-commerce industry in Sri Lanka, creating a positive environment for promoting the e-commerce industry, challenges faced by Sri Lankan consumers in digital marketing and ways to overcome them, legal framework for the safety of digital e-commerce consumers and many other facets related to the e-commerce industry.

The event will conclude with a brainstorming session among the experts to identify key legislative and regulatory priorities for establishing a modernized consumer e-commerce legislative framework, with due regard to international trade context.

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