The external sector strengthened further with the trade deficit contracting sharply in October 2013,the Central Bank said yesterday. Earnings from exports increased to record levels, reflecting the ongoing recovery in the global economy, while expenditure on imports declined. The contraction of the trade deficit, higher inflows to the services account and an increase in private transfers contributed to reducing the current account deficit.
The favourable developments in the external sector together with higher inflows to the financial account, resulted in the Balance of Payments (BOP) recording an estimated surplus during the first ten months of 2013, compared to the deficit recorded during the corresponding period of 2012, the Central Bank said yesterday.
Sri Lanka is hopeful as exports continue to surge with latest volumes showing a promising uptrend. “The export trend in September is continuing. The 3% exports increase in October is higher than expected” said a pleased Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 22 November.
Minister Bathiudeen was acknowledging the latest export numbers for October 2013 indicated to him by his top officials on 22 November at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The biggest Lankan trade, tourism and investment exposition in history successfully concluded on Sunday 17 November at Battaramulla, with $ 01 Bn in international business partnerships. “The event appears to be a sell-out. There were more than 242000 visitors that included an unprecedented number of international buyers representing 66 countries -which led to 1428 serious buyer visits, 101 promising B2B meetings” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 20 November in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was speaking with his top officials including Anura Siriwardena, (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), on 20 November acknowledging the final review of the progress of Reflection of Sri Lanka -the integrated tourism, trade, investment and SME exposition -inaugurated on 13 November in Battaramulla. Reflection of Sri Lanka was inaugurated by (HE) the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 13 November evening in the presence of a large number of Lankan and international dignitaries as well as media.
The top textile companies from Taiwan will be showcasing their cutting edge, unique and high performance textile products at Taiwan Textile Fairs in South Asia 2013 at the Taj Samudra, Colombo, Sri Lanka on November 26 and 27, 2013.
Taiwan is one of the largest textile exporters in the world and the Taiwan textile industry is internationally renowned for its manufacturing excellence. Their superior quality yarn, innovative fabrics and textile products are now coming to Sri Lanka and will present their range of state-of-the-art textile products to Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers at the Taiwan Textile Fairs in South Asia 2013.
The Anuga Exhibition is the most important platform for the food business held in Cologne. This year, 6777 exhibition stands catered to the public, and more than 150 000 trade visitors from 187 countries were present to check out the actual trends in the food business.
The Minister of Industries and Commerce of Sri Lanka, Rishad Bathiudean, accompanied by Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Germany, Mr. Sarath Kongahage, and the Consul General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt, Mr. Pradip Jayawardana, opened the Sri Lanka representation with 41 Sri Lankan companies exhibiting high quality Sri Lankan products such as tea and other export products.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will begin formulating a preferential trade agreement (PTA) between the two countries subsequent to the completion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), with a view to developing into a free-trade agreement (FTA) in future, according to Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Mohammad S. Rahman.
“The current quantum of bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is still relatively low at approximately US $ 9 million.
However, there is a lot of potential to improve this figure. We hope to establish a PTA once the CHOGM is completed, which can eventually be developed into a fullyfledged FTA in future,” he stated.
Forthcoming FTA with China is not a blindsided move but is a process involving studies and even relevant stakeholder consultations. “We are still at initial study phase and we will not finalize product lists without consulting Lankan stakeholders such as various chambers and industries,” assured Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka Rishad Bathiudeen to the oldest Industry Chamber in the country on October 31 in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing a delegation led by new Chairman,CNCI Gamini Gunasekara on October 31 at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Also taking part were Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce Anura Siriwardena and additional secretaries, officials of Department of Commerce and CNCI officials.
Sri Lanka’s overall tea export earnings during the period January – September of the year has increased by Rs. 10.6 billion year on year (YoY) to record Rs. 141.9 billion, according to a Forbes and Walker report.
However, overall export volumes in the first nine months of the year has decreased by 1.4 million kg year on year to 234.5 million kg.
The total tea export earnings in August also increased to Rs. 123.1 billion while tea export earnings in September was Rs. 18.5 billion. The volumes decreased by 3.1 million kg to 28.7 million kg.
Signalling a positive turn for its export diversification moves, Sri Lanka has notched itself up in the latest Global Competitiveness Index. And no less than 22 FTAs have helped Sri Lanka's topmost Southern hemispheric trading partner to lift itself off from a 'backyard GDP' and speed up to one of the best economies in South America today.
"I am pleased to say that Sri Lanka has improved to Rank 65 from its previous 68 in the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014. We stand just below Russian Federation in this ranking. The same index says that, Sri Lanka leads among SAARC countries on competitiveness levels" said Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on 25 October in Mt. Lavinia.
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.
A joint Trade, Tourism and Investment exhibition parallel to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has been organized to be held from 13th to 17th November at the Janakala Kendraya in Battaramulla in Colombo under the title “Reflection of Sri Lanka”.
This exhibition has been jointly organized by the Ministries of Economic Development, Industry and Commerce and Investment Promotion. More than 300 Sri Lankan exporters including 75 machinery exporters and 100 technology providers and 200 SMEs will showcase their products at this mega exhibition.
Sri Lanka's exports rose 10.7 percent to 917.8 million US dollars in August 2013 from a year earlier, and import dropped 7.7 percent to 1.6 billion US dollars, the Central Bank said.
Export earnings from tea grew 49.3 percent to 142.8 million US dollars and apparel exports barely grew 2.1 percent to 366.5 million US dollars. Rubber products export value dropped 8.0 percent to 77.7 million US dollars.
Imports fell 7.7 percent to 1.6 billion US dollars in August. Consumer goods rose 18.6 percent to 266.6 million US dollars and intermediate goods fell 5.7 percent to 1,017 million US dollars though fuel imports rose 7 percent to 531.3 million US dollars.
The forthcoming China-Sri Lanka FTA is the biggest development in Sino-Lanka cooperation history since the 1952 Rubber-Rice Pact. And China is keen to see the groundwork on this FTA completed by December this year.
“My mission is to start the China-Sri Lanka FTA process. The forthcoming FTA is the biggest development in China-Sri Lanka bilateral cooperation since the historic 1952 Rubber Rice Pact between the two countries. We expect that the preparatory process of the forthcoming FTA to be completed by December this year. Then we can go to the next stage in 2014, ” said a confident Yu Jianhua, the powerful Deputy International Trade Representative of the Ministry of Commerce of China on 17 October in Colombo.
The Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) 2013, backed by local industries and the Sri Lankan Government, kicked off yesterday. The main objective of the festival, which is to promote design driven exports, is supported by Sri Lanka’s apex institute for driving exports, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB).
Together with EDB, SLDF 2013 is held under the theme of South Asia’s Creative Hub, encompassing Sri Lanka moving towards the regional hub status in design. Under this, SLDF will join hands with the EDB to highlight and draw international attention to the major export industries like fashion/apparel manufacturing as well as emerging sectors like contemporary craft.
Lankan businesses of both SME and large scales are enthusiastically enlisting for the CHOGM event of EDB. "42 exhibitor firms from ornamental and handicraft sector, 40 from gem and jewelleries, and 19 from apparel sector are among them," said Ms Sujata Weerakoone, Director General of EDB on 08 October in Colombo.
Director General Weerakoone was addressing the special briefing session held at EDB auditorium on 08 October for exhibitors of forthcoming EDBs CHOGM exposition titled "Reflections of Sri Lanka-Exploring the Wonder of Asia". More than 250 reps from 184 Lankan businesses of SME and large scales from across the country were in attendance at EDB’s briefing session.
Tea export earnings in the first eight months of the year increased by Rs. 10.6 billion year on year (YoY) to Rs. 123.1 billion, Forbes & Walker (F&W) in a report said.
Export volumes in the review period increased by 1.7 million kilos YoY to 205.7 million kg.
Kenya, one of Sri Lanka’s competitors, in the first seven months of the year increased its export volumes by 52 million kg. YoY to 293 million kg., F&W said.
In the same period Kenya’s tea export earnings increased by Rs. 18 billion* to Rs. 109.7 billion.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s tea export earnings in August increased by Rs. 6.2 billion to Rs. 18.8 billion YoY.
Likewise tea export volumes increased appreciably by 9.5 million kg. YoY to 31.4 million kg.
Sri Lanka’s international Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is none other than its hub positioning. “At this moment, many countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia including Sri Lanka have great investment opportunities.
Sri Lanka will have to compete with these countries to leverage foreign investment streams from Switzerland” revealed a very confident Wolfgang Schanzenbach, Regional Director Asia Pacific of Switzerland Global Enterprise (SGE) on 03 October in Colombo.
Apparel exports must be expanded to cater to the growing demand for Sri Lankan made products in the Japanese market, according to Japan’s House of Councillors Member Yamatani Eriko.
“Sri Lankan apparels are of high quality but unfortunately, the supply of Sri Lankan apparels to the demand of the Japanese market is not sufficient at the moment. Therefore, we request steps be taken to expand exports of Sri Lankan apparels to Japan.
Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Japan has a very long history and trade is one of the most important aspects of our bilateral relations. Ceylon tea and other Sri Lankan products such as apparels and ceramics are already popular in Japan,” Eriko stated.
"Eager Sri Lankan biz has experienced a sudden boost and witnessed new doors of opportunities on 26 September with a surge of inquiries from the powerful Chinese businesses now scouring Sri Lanka," the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement.
On 26 September, one hundred (100) Lankan firms of small, medium and large scales met reps from 23 powerful Chinese firms that arrived in Sri Lanka on 25 September as part of the Chinese Trade Promotion delegation to Colombo.
The Sri Lankan Embassy has invited buyers and sellers to participate in an exhibition to be held concurrently with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, scheduled to be held in Colombo from Nov. 13.
Anil Sirimanne, commercial counselor at the Sri Lankan Embassy, told Arab News that the event, which will discuss Sri Lanka’s trade, tourism and investment, will also coincide with the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF), which will also be held in Colombo during the same period.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent countries and the CHOGM is held every two years to enable leaders of Commonwealth countries to come together to discuss global and Commonwealth-related issues and to decide on collective policies and initiatives.