Exports turn around, Lanka enters CHOGM biz runway
An eager Sri Lanka launched the business side of its forthcoming CHOGM -and announced its new export turnaround to a packed presser on 22 October. “I am happy to say that our exports from January to September this year shows an increase of 1.07%, in comparison to the same period in 2012. This shows that, having faced the international market challenges our exports are now gradually strengthening” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 22 October.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the official media announcement and special presser on “Reflection of Sri Lanka” held at the Ministry of Mass Media and Information in Colombo 5 on 22 October. Along with Minister Bathiudeen, also present were Susantha Punchinilame (Deputy Minister of Economic Development), Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena (Minister of Investment Promotion), Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), Charitha Herath (Secretary, Ministry of Mass Media and Information), officials of Sri Lanka Tourism, BoI, Tea Board, EDB, Gem and Jewellery Authority, and Ministry of Economic Development.
“Reflection of Sri Lanka’ is an exposition showcasing the trade, tourism and investment potential of the country, is to be held in parallel to the CHOGM. ‘Reflection of Sri Lanka’ event will be held from 13 to 17 November. ‘Reflections of Sri Lanka’ is co-organized by, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the EDB functioning under it, joined by Sri Lanka Tourism, and The Board of Investment. Already 700 exhibitors and almost 1000 buyers have come forward to EDB to enlist for ‘Reflection of Sri Lanka.’
Speaking about new export growth, Minister Bathiudeen said: “I am happy to inform you today that we are seeing an export turnaround according to our latest export data. As of September our total export value for 2013 is recorded at, $ 7314 Mn. Our exports from, January to September this year therefore shows 1.07% increase in comparison to the same period in 2012. This shows that having faced the international market challenges our exports are now gradually strengthening. This latest export growth is helped by footwear exports growing by 85%, export crops such as spices, growing by 36.8%, diamonds, gems and jewelry exports, growing by 11.28%, fisheries exports, growing by 11%, and apparel exports, growing by 5.64%. Our strategic hub and logistical positioning is a major force in our development. The Free Trade Agreements that we have with India and Pakistan, on 8200 products, and more importantly our forthcoming FTA with China which is world’s largest consumer market are factors that international investors cannot find in many other emerging economies. Even our service sector is attractive for investments. The 2011 “A.T Kearney Global Services Location Index” places Sri Lanka at a respectable rank of 21 above Australia, France, and Portugal!”
Detailing the ‘Reflection’ event, Minister Bathiudeen revealed: “‘This event will be held in parallel to the forthcoming landmark event, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), as part of the leadership vision of HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The CHOGM main event is represented by 54 Heads of States. The event will highlight the country’s capabilities, high knowledge base, and our dedication, to compliance standards together with tourism and investment opportunities. More importantly, this is an exposition hosting 700 exhibitors, displaying the best of Sri Lanka’s diverse products for export”.
“Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), addressing the event, said: “This is a rare but a very opportune moment to enhance the image of Sri Lanka to the international business. Almost 1000 buyers have already come forward to EDB to enlist for Reflection of Sri Lanka. We have even enlisted 100 technology providers. We are opening the event to the public for no less than three days – on 14, 15 and 17 November.”
Bandula Egodage, Chiarman/CEO of EDB, making a detailed presentation of Reflection of Sri Lanka, said: “Reflection gives the rare opportunity to our export community to meet international buyers in one location, right here in Sri Lanka. The EDB is using a multi-channel promotion strategy involving e-catalogues, e-brochures, web banners, press and electronic advertisements to engage the international buyers to our export products. Already 300 exporters, 700 exhibitors, 200 export oriented SMEs, 75 machinery exporters, 100 technology providers, to enlist for ‘Reflection of Sri Lanka’ – some of them being participants of Expo 2012 held in March 2012. There will also be exhibitor pavilions with sector branding. More importantly, many B2B sessions are planned with the visiting international business.”
Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena (Minister of Investment Promotion), addressing the event, said: “Our target is to source large and medium scale investors to Sri Lanka. We have ready information and procedures on 56 investment sectors in Sri Lanka awaiting the visiting international investors. We are not upgrading our infrastructure solely for the CHOGM-it’s part of our infrastructure development plan!”