Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Suresh de Mel yesterday presented six focused sectors that provide a plethora of opportunities for export-oriented global firms to set up bases in Sri Lanka.
“The Government has put in the right ecosystem to support investments, growth and innovation. We have also taken a number of new initiatives while also fine-tuning existing endeavours to develop and boost exports,” he said on Day 2 of the virtually-held Sri Lanka Investment Forum.
The EDB Chief’s six focused sectors for innovation and investment were: IT/BMP, electrical and electronic components, boat building, nautical tourism and related industries, processed food and beverages, spices and concentrates and essential oils and wellness tourism. He also elaborated on each focused sector, emphasising on the plethora of opportunities for export oriented firms to invest in Sri Lanka.
De Mel told global companies attending SLIF that Sri Lanka’s strategic location as a central hub to trade routes, duty-free access to 7,200 products with the European Union (EU) GSP+ concession and the United Kingdom (UK) GSP+ concession, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) market access to India and Pakistan with 4,000 products and several other FTAs with the regional counties were key factors to make Sri Lanka a great destination to setup globally-recognised, export-oriented manufacturing plants.
“We are there to support exporters and investors to set up investment in Sri Lanka,” the EDB Chief said.
In addition to merchandise exports, he highlighted that Sri Lanka was also known for its services exports which include logistics, maritime and offshore engineering, light engineering, construction, education, BPM/BPO, lapidary and tourism.
“EDB’s knowledge of global and local market places and the characteristics of multiple industries helps Sri Lankan exporters to expand their exports into global markets,” de Mel said.
According to him, the EDB works with 20 advisory committees to gain industry knowledge, which comprises over 100 private sector members, in addition to the foreign missions to get market intelligence support required to boost exports.
The EDB Chief also said the resilience of the export community was quite evident with the $ 14 billion export earnings recorded last year despite the supply chain and market access constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the EDB has a target of $ 16 billion despite the continued local and international shocks amidst the pandemic.
Sri Lanka’s top 10 export markets include the United States, the UK, India, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, China, Canada and Turkey. Last year Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports amounted to $ 10 billion and the Government has set a target of $ 12 billion in 2021 of which $ 3.6 billion has been achieved by April.
“Today, EDB has gone beyond its original responsibilities as a trade promotion organisation to multiple layers of the country’s role of a mentor and a facilitator in reaching new markets and identifying markets and industry trends,” de Mel said.