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Trade

Interview: Sri Lankan official says Chinese market a boon for export diversification

March 04, 2021


Abstract : A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China would boost Sri Lanka's efforts to diversify its export market base, a senior government official said.

COLOMBO, March 3 (Xinhua) -- A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China would boost Sri Lanka's efforts to diversify its export market base, a senior government official said.

"If a FTA is signed with China, it would tremendously assist us in diversifying the narrow export market base, as we are heavily over reliant on few market areas," Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Suresh De Mel told Xinhua recently.

Sri Lanka and China decided to enter into a FTA in August 2013 to further expand trade between the two countries, and the two sides have held talks since then.

Sri Lanka's top five export destinations in 2020 were the United States, Britain, India, Germany and Italy, which together absorbed 50 percent of exports.

Shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic caused Sri Lanka's merchandise export revenue to dip from 11.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to 9.9 billion dollars in 2020.

However, export segments such as coconut and coconut-based products, spices and concentrates, and other export crops saw considerable growth.

"We are making local producers aware of the food regulations in the international market to encourage them to adhere to the quality and safety standards in export destinations," De Mel said.

De Mel said that the EDB has a Market Access Support Scheme to enable local export-oriented SMEs to upgrade their technology and meet international quality standards.

"We also organize exposure visits to international exhibitions for SMEs through which they gain knowledge of the modern technology and opportunity to build up contact with technology providers," he said.

The EDB is targeting a revenue of 12.6 billion dollars from exports of goods and 3.6 billion dollars from the export of services in 2021, De Mel said. Enditem


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Keyword: export market Sri Lankan

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