The US$ 13.5 billion export target set for merchandise export sectors in early 2020 remains challenging, requiring not only strong efforts from local enterprises, but also the recovery of global demand amid complicated Covid-19 situation. Amid severe impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports remain at US$ 9.9 billion in 2020, which is a 104 % achievement from the revised forecast of US$ 9.5 billion.
The export development board is pleased to see an export focused budget which will support strong export growth led by investment, value addition and maximizing our Sri Lankan natural resources, this is a pivotal change in Sri Lanka’s growth strategy which will be led by the exporters.
Due to the difficulties of organizing physical export promotion programmes during this pandemic situation, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) in collaboration with Foreign Ministry and the Sri Lankan Missions overseas has initiated online sessions to enable foreign buyers and Sri Lankan exporters meet via virtual platforms with the objective of creating trade linkages between Sri Lanka and the rest of the world, as it is imperative to sustain the nation’s export promotional activities in spite of severe challenges caused by COVID-19.
To strengthen quality and preserve originality, the Export Development Board (EDB) has kicked-off licencing of ‘Ceylon Spices’ trademark for qualifying producers, processors and exporters of cinnamon, pepper, clove, nutmeg and mace as well as cardamom.
Earnings from merchandise exports rebounded in June 2020 to US $ 906.02 Mn as per the Customs statistics, with the export sector progressively commencing actions following the relaxation of lockdown measures and the recovery of both domestic and global supply and demand chains to some extent.
Following our statement last week, the EDB strengthens our clarion call to understand that exports are now our nation’s number one priority. As the COVID-19 crisis intensifies across the globe, we at the EDB have taken a strong stance and realized that it is the export sector that will get Sri Lanka through this crisis. During these times of unparalleled circumstances, we see a large impact on Sri Lanka’s foreign direct investment, our tourism sector and our country’s overall economic standing. Therefore, we ask other government agencies to recognize and support the export sector during this time. For all exporters, it is imperative to take immediate action. The foreign exchange that we bring in through the export sector is essential in our efforts to survive this crisis as a nation.
It’s a difficult moment for the world. We are fighting the coronavirus pandemic whilst our nation’s exporters have been facing challenging times for the past two months. The EDB requests that now more than ever, the time has come for us to prepare our businesses to stay up and running. As a nation, we are no stranger to disaster, having faced our fair share of adversity. We are confident that we will weather this storm and as we have done in the past, Sri Lanka will emerge stronger than ever and continue focusing on our main goal - recommencing exports, restoring them to their former level and increasing them.
Considering the unprecedented disruption to the global economy and trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Export Development Board has revised its 2020 exports forecast by a hefty 42% to $10.75 billion.
The Central Bank on 27th March 2020 announced a series of wide-ranging financial concessions to alleviate the hardships businesses are facing owing to the impact of Covid-19. The concessions are applicable to the entire gamut of organisations ranging from large corporate to self-employed individuals, and particularly to export-related enterprises. The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) took the initiative in bringing the severity of the crisis situation the business community, particularly the export sector, is facing and the dire need to give relief, to the notice of the Central Bank and other key Government stakeholders.
Total merchandise exports for Jan & Feb 2020, was US$ 1,931 which resulted in a reduction of 3.6% compared to the same period in 2019.
Sri Lanka Customs has taken immediate steps to assist the exporters whose export of products have been delayed by the corona outbreak to export products that have been produced and prepared for exportation as well as goods that are essential and urgently required to be exported to respective countries.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in partnership with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board organized a Familiarization tour of the Jordan market for a 13 member delegation of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs from 25 – 27 February to seek entry into the Jordanian market which has been hitherto largely untapped by Sri Lanka.
Embassy of Sri Lanka in Egypt organized a business networking event, from 23 to 25 February 2020, with the participation of a 11-member delegation of Sri Lankan exporters, facilitated by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, under the Economic Diplomacy Programme. This event focused on promoting selected Sri Lankan products having a high demand in the Egypt markets namely; Ceylon Tea, Coconut Products, Rubber Products and Spices.
According to the latest customs provisional data the total exports from Sri Lanka in January 2020, recorded a marginal increase of 0.96% in comparison to the similar period of the previous year, due to the merchandise exports recording a drop of 7.41% and the projected growth of 26% of Service exports, The merchandise exports stood at US$ 961 Mn in January 2020, which is lesser than US$ 77 Mn, in January 2019. The figure for Service exports has not yet been released and the EDB has projected figures based on the past published records. It was revealed that only in the year 2019 the exports recorded over one billion in comparison to the figures of the last five years.
Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe yesterday urged that boosting exports must be everyone’s priority, as the key agency set an ambitious yet achievable target of $ 18.5 billion this year, up by 15% from 2019. EDB revealed that as per provisional data, last year Sri Lanka’s total merchandise and service exports amounted to $ 16.14 billion up by 1.44% from 2018. The composition was merchandise exports were $ 11.9 billion, up 0.13% and service exports were $ 4.2 billion, up by 5.3% from 2018. EDB originally targeted $ 18.5 billion exports for 2019, and the estimated performance reflects achievement of 87% of the goal.