Hon. Bandula Gunawardana, Minister of Trade urged the whole stakeholders to actively engage in assisting all exporters of the country in every possible manner during this turbulent period enabling exporters to strengthen our economy.
“If a FTA is signed with China, it would tremendously assist us in diversifying the narrow export market base, as we are heavily over reliant on few market areas,” Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Suresh De Mel told Xinhua recently.
Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB) new Chairman Suresh de Mel this week expressed confidence of giving the best shot at realising a near $ 16 billion target for 2021 despite domestic and global challenges. This confidence stems from a plethora of new initiatives as well as fine-tuning existing endeavours to develop and boost exports.
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.
As per the Customs statistics, earnings from merchandise exports recorded a negative growth of 20.97% in November 2020 to US$ 747.58 Mn as compared to the value of US$ 978.80 Mn recorded in November 2019 due to the adverse impact of 2nd wave of Covid 19 pandemic within the country and globally. Reduction recorded in October exports due to the C19 outbreak in Sri Lanka which has had a direct impact on our manufacturing and export facilities also continued in November 2020.
The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) last week successfully completed its 30 th capacity-development webinar session to the exporter community and SMEs. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation of the country, the EDB could not carry out its conventional capacity development programmes such as workshops and seminars, due to the health regulations imposed on people-gathering activities. As an alternative method, online sessions were conducted to enhance the capacity and knowledge of exporters and SMEs in Sri Lanka.
Since the UK is the main market for Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU region and the second largest export market after the USA, it is important for Sri Lanka to receive the same tariff preferences it was enjoying prior to Brexit when trading with the UK in the post Brexit period.
As per the Customs statistics, earnings from merchandise exports recorded a negative growth of 14.9% in October 2020 to US$ 831.72 Mn as compared to the value of US$ 977.3 Mn recorded in October 2019. This poor performance is due to the adverse impact of 2nd wave of Covid 19 pandemic within the country and globally.
The Export Development Board (EDB), expressing its concern about the resurgence of COVID-19 in main markets, has called on the private sector to plan and prepare as it is threatening to impact trade once again.
The commendable performance of Sri Lankan exporters and the resilience shown during an unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic is to be rewarded by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, of the Ministry of Trade, through a proposed export stimulus Reward Scheme.
E-commerce Readiness Assessment Report Sri Lanka was launched by the Commonwealth Secretariat (COMSEC) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). The report is the result of a request by the EDB in 2018 for technical assistance from COMSEC to conduct an e-readiness assessment for Sri Lanka and undertake capacity-building programmes on e-commerce for SMEs and women entrepreneurs. The project was funded by COMSEC through the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC). The publication comes at a time when businesses in Sri Lanka were compelled to exploit e-commerce mechanisms in the wake of lockdowns and travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
Sri Lanka’s exports during the month of August 2020 recorded a downfall of 19.2% to US$ 947.7 Mn as compared to the value of US$ 1,033.3 Mn recorded same month of last year.
Sri Lanka’s exports have surpassed the $ 1 billion mark in July after six months time period where a similar achievement was only recorded in January during this year.
Exports play an important role in a country’s economy as they influence the level of growth, employment and balance of payments. For Sri Lanka, the focus on exports is now more important than ever, as the island nation looks to bring in foreign currency to boost the economy.
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.