Trade Information and Promotion
The trade information and promotion (TIP) strategy (the Strategy) presented in this document is an integral part of the National Export Strategy (NES) of Sri Lanka. The efficiency of the TIP network in Sri Lanka contributes to the export performance of all sectors of the economy. This document presents the expectations and strategic objectives of the private and public sectors for improved TIP functions in Sri Lanka.
The strategic enhancement of Sri Lanka’s exports depends on the availability of proper trade intelligence and information, and effective promotion campaigns. Achieving this ambitious objective will depend on the ability of the requisite stakeholders to implement the activities defined in this TIP Strategy. As a primary intervention to structure sector development, it is recommended that the following steps be taken with priority:
- Establish a centralized, reliable, accessible and affordable ‘export intelligence and promotion portal’ that would be a repository of information related to trade and promotion, and that is easily accessible to all stakeholders to assist them in exporting.
- Strengthen coordination for information-sharing between public and private stakeholders, and between industry and sectoral chambers based in Colombo (national level) and regional chapters.
- Strengthen the TIP-related technical, managerial and administrative capacities and abilities of relevant sector officers, especially in regional centres, as well as trade attachés posted overseas in Sri Lankan missions, in order to improve exports.
- Build Brand Sri Lanka strategically, not just overseas but also creating awareness within the country
An immediate quick win would be to organize a standard periodic globally synchronized event in all trade missions overseas to promote Brand Sri Lanka, its exports and investment opportunities, targeting specific sectoral goals.
Trade information and promotion
The lead organization for dissemination of trade information and promoting international trade is the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), with support from institutions such as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and Sri Lanka Customs (SLC), which provide raw and analysed data and information. From a private sector perspective, industry bodies such as the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) and Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), among others, provide TIP services.
Trade information may be statistical data, market intelligence, regulatory procedures, standards and norms, or processes that are required to provide important analysis to take strategic decisions for international trade. This information refers to a set of activities that can broadly be classified in three categories – collection or gathering of information, analysis of such gathered information and efficient dissemination of the information. The process involves private and public players and requires networking among stakeholders for a seamless flow of information. Effective use of contemporary technologies from capturing to transmitting the information is the key to successful trade information management. Trade promotion, also referred to as export promotion, is a set of economic policies, interventions and initiatives aimed at improving the trade performance in a target location or industry. Improvement is mainly sought by increasing exports both in absolute terms and relative to imports. When specific industries are targeted, trade promotion policies tend to focus on industries that have a comparative advantage over their foreign competitors. Ironically, trade promotion can also include expanding the supply of key inputs in a country's strongest industries, via import expansion.
Institutional support for TIP
Trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) are institutions that have an interest in, and bearing on, export development.Broadly, the TISIs providing important services to the Sri Lankan TIP trade support function (TSF) can be categorized in the following areas:
- Policy support network
- STrade services network
- Business services network.
Coordination among public and private stakeholders in obtaining TIP details, and the human capital, financial capacity and quality of service of individual institutions was analysed in this section. It was inferred from Strategy consultations that besides the limited availability of relevant trade information, analysis of that 2 information that is available for public consumption is often not disseminated efficiently. This is largely due to limited managerial and administrative capacities. The perception of the influence and ability of Sri Lankan TISIs in the TIP arena was also analysed, with institutional adjustments and implementation procedures detailed.