Trade Information & Promotion (TIP) is no doubt the most vital Trade Support Function in the National Export Strategy (NES) which will strengthen the capacities and efficiencies of Sri Lankan entrepreneur's market-entry. This support function is for all the export sectors of Sri Lanka and therefore will not be only focusing NES product sectors.
The strategic growth and development of the Sri Lanka’s export sector depends heavily on the availability and ease of access to trade intelligence and information. Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and other sectors at large will benefit immensely from concerted, co-ordinated and well-designed promotional campaigns to propel Sri Lankan products to regional and international markets.
Trade information can 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 for capturing to transmitting information is the key to successful trade information management.
Trade promotion, also referred as export promotion, is a set of economic policies, interventions and initiatives aimed at improving 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.
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.
The Strategic Objectives of the TIP Support Function are:
The Advisory Committee on Trade Information and Promotion has been formulated with the objective of implementing of the above strategies to promote Sri Lanka's exports and disseminate information on Sri Lanka's exports in effective manner.
In this regard, three Working Groups (WGs) have been appointed to implement the strategies and activities to achieve the above objectives. The three Working Groups on Market Intelligence and Promotions, Capacity Building and Trade Promotions are working towards achieving the specific short term goals to achieve the above objectives.
How does the Working Group on Market Intelligence and Promotions support to have a business enabling, predictable and transparent policy and regulatory framework that supports exports?
The Working Group on Market Intelligence and Promotions is working towards establishing a centralized, reliable, accessible and affordable export intelligence and promotion portal to be a repository of information related to trade and promotion, and that is easily accessible to all stakeholders to assist them in exporting. The purpose of this Portal is to strengthen the ability to provide relevant and up-to-date information in a coordinated manner, as well as to provide trade promotion services, especially targeted support to public sector organizations supporting towards ensuring a business enabling, predictable and transparent policy and regulatory framework that supports exports.
How does the Working Group on Capacity Building support to strengthen Sri Lankan Exporters' market-entry and compliance capacities?
The Working Group on Capacity Building is aiming at developing the capacity of SMEs by disseminating the important trade information among the SMEs and making them aware of the all the necessary information to become a successful exporter while strengthening Sri Lankan Exporters' market-entry and compliance capacities.
The Working Group on Capacity Building is in the process of conducting seminars and workshops in all over the country to make aware of the SMEs and relevant government officers like Development Officers on the trade information and trade information sources required for export trade. So far the team has successfully conducted the seminars covering the whole Southern Province, North Western Province and Central Province. All Provinces will be covered before the end of next year by conducting seminars and workshops for the SMEs and exporters enabling them to use information and promotion services efficiently while making them aware of online information and resources available under promotional services.
How does the Working Group on Trade Promotion support to drive export diversification through innovation and by strengthening emerging sectors?
Main objective of the Working Group on Trade Promotion is to strategically augment the trade promotion programmes with focused interventions. One of the major activities proposed in this regard was to build Brand Sri Lanka and sector brands. The Working Group is focusing only on developing sector brands at the moment to drive export diversification through innovation and by strengthening emerging sectors and the National Branding will be done with the collaboration of the other stakeholders at a secondary stage.
In addition to that, the Working Group on Trade Promotion is responsible to strengthen and expand the scope of promoting Sri Lanka and its products through trade attaches in Sri Lankan Missions overseas. A number of effective trade promotional events in the identified countries have been selected with the assistance of Sri Lankan Missions in specific countries to promote Sri Lanka's exports. It is proposed to organize Sri Lanka's participation at the selected events with the cooperation of other Advisory Committees in the relevant sectors.