Policy Planning and Research Directorate

Policy, Planning and Research Directorate is mainly responsible for policy issues, Tarrif issues and international affairs. Its broad objectives can be summarized as follows.

  1. Assisting the Director General of Customs in developing the Departmental Policies and converting the same to procedures to be implemented by respective Directorates; conveying such decisions to the officers for information and compliance.
  2. When requested, assisting the line Ministries and Departments in
    I. Developing economic/ trade policies and
    II. Converting such policies to tariff measures;
  3. Conveying Tariff Measures to the officers and the public as relevant for information and implementation.
  4. Ensuring that the National Customs Tarrif is maintained in the most updated status; attending to all Tariffs related inquiries and resolving Tariff related disputes.
  5. Ensuring that the information required by public for promoting self compliance is available through the Customs information center.
  6. Representing the Sri Lanka Customs Department at WCO, its Regional Bodies and other International Organizations (WTO and Secretariats of MEAs) and at Bi-lateral and Multi-lateral Trade Negotiations
  7. Adopting the WCO’s recommendations and best practices by converting to policies and procedures in order for the Department to achieve its vision.


  • Implementation of Tarrif policy decisions, formulated by the Treasury through departmental orders (DOPLs)
  • Formulation and implementation of Customs policy through departmental orders (DOPLs)
  • Update and maintain the Import Tarrif Guide.
  • Publish National Import Tariff Guide in both book form and CD form for the benefit of public and staff.
  • Preparation of the Annual Action Plan of the Department.
  • Preparation of Annual Performance Report of the Department by reviewing the progress of the respective Directorates.
  • Preparation and updating of Manual of Procedure.
  • Preparation and publishing of Rates of Exchange notifications.
  • Attend of public Relations and Customs Information Center.


  • Act as the contact point for the World Customs Organization (WCO), WCO Asia Pacific Office, World Trade Organization (WTO), other International Organizations and Customs Administrations by attending to correspondence and related matters.
  • Attend to matters relating to Customs Corporation and Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreements with other Customs Administrations.
  • Attend to matters related to Preferential Trade Agreement (PTAs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)
  • Organize the World Customs Day function annually.


  • Conduct research on matters related to tariff, trade and clearance procedures etc.

Policy Matters

  • Assist the Ministry of Finance in creating national sub divisions in the Harmonized System and when necessary in formulating the tariff policy.


This directorate act as the main publisher of the Department. The publications include policy decisions, instructions procedures, Forms & Documents, Duty Rate, Fees & Chargers, classification & valuation rulings, guidelines to the internal staff and information to the general public. Following publications are done in addition to the information given to the general public through the Information Center maintained at the ground floor of the Customs Headquarters Building.

  • Departmental Orders

    These are instructions and guidelines to the internal staff on new policy & procedures to be followed. (This is considered to be the main official communication to the staff). Policy matters include tariff rate changes and Customs exchange rates in the form of Revenue Protection Orders initiated at General Treasury, WCO Notifications on new procedures and changes to the existing procedures, originated at the respective divisions of Customs and at times, at different government authorities for which Customs act as main controlling body. At the PP&R Directorate they take the form of an official circular. Rate of Exchange notifications issued weekly and rates are applicable from Monday to next Sunday for all currency conversions related to Customs transactions.

  • Customs Tariff Guide

    Based on the World Customs Organizations’ Harmonized System Nomenclature the Import & Export tariff guide is published by the PP&R Division. Applicable duty rates and control measures, originate at the Trade and Investment Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance. This annual publication is generally prepared after the national budget and subsequent amendments are published as Departmental Orders. This publication is in the Public domain.

  • Annual Action Plan

    This is an annual distribution prepared by the PP&R Directorate indicating the work plan for the year ahead and available in public domain.

  • Annual Performance Report

    This annual publication is compiled by the PP&R Directorate and it indicates the successes and failures of the department, according to the plan and also available in public domain.

  • Customs Ordinance

    The Customs Ordinance incorporating all the amendments published in time to time is a guide for reference to the internal staff only. The official publication is available at the Government Publication Bureau.

  • Manual of Procedure

    These are specific guideline for this internal staff on the various procedures adopted at different Directorates.

  • Information Center

    The information center located at the ground floor of the Headquarters Building of Customs provides information to the general public as well as Customs House Agents in person and over the phone. General public can obtain information on various Customs procedures, duty rates, classification advices and tender sale details. Customs House Agents also obtain primary advices on classification issues from this division.

  • GIC web site

    The Customs Department Page of the Government Information Center web site is regularly updated with information by the PP&R Directorate. This web site provides information to the local and international community regarding Customs procedures, Duty & Fees levies, forms and documents and guidelines.

International Affairs Division

This is a new addition to the Customs and provides the ever required coordination point service to the department. Being the gate way to the international trade and passenger movements Customs is bound to adhere to the various international treaties, agreements and standard operational procedures. Since Sri Lanka is keen on building friendly relations with the international community formation of Free Trade Agreements and Customs Corporation/ Mutual Assistance Agreements with countries even outside the region, has become a vital task. Customs international Affairs Division act as the focal point for them.


PP&R Directorate conducts various researches to monitor the effectiveness and weakness in the Customs procedures from time to time. Time Release study as per the guide lines of the WCO is conducted to study the time taken at each point in the clearance procedure. Also, PP&R Directorate analyze and research the import and export data to advice the Ministry of Finance to formulate new tariff rates and control measures especially at the National Budget.

Policy Matters

Policy Matters PP&R Directorate acts as the focal point of various fiscal policies introduced by the government. In this PP&R Directorate regularly communicates with the Trade & Investment Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance in addition to the communication with other government agencies and commerce authorities. The introduction and changes to the Trade/ Fiscal policies at the National Budget is done by the Ministry of Finance on the data and recommendation provided by this directorate. Creation of new national sub divisions to the Harmonized System are initiated at this directorate.

Contact Information

Director+94 11 2221510 /+94 11 2445146(Ext. 7510) Fax +94 11 2478864
Deputy Director+94 11 2445146 (Ext. 7502/ 7505/ 7506)
Superintendent+94 11 2445146 (Ext. 7503/ 7504)
Deputy Superintendent of Customs+94 11 2445146 (Ext. 7511) Fax. +94 11 2446361
Information Center – Appraiser+94 11 2221333/ +94 11 2143434 (Ext. 7030)