Traditional exports could give SL leverage in trade deals–Expert

Posted on 12 March 2016 by admin

Daily FT


Verite Research Economist Subhashini Abeysinghe – Pic by Lasantha Kumara 

By Charumini de Silva 

Untitled-1Sri Lanka’s traditional exports must also feature prominently in trade expansion deals for the country to competently leverage its advantages in future agreements, a top researcher said yesterday.

The Government should consider including competitive sectors of the economy such as apparel and tea as the usefulness of a trade agreement largely depends on competitive export products as well as its market liberalisation, argued Verite Research Economist Subhashini Abeysinghe at the SAARC Entrepreneurs Forum organised by FCCISL yesterday. 

Sri Lanka has a serious problem in creating capacity and competitiveness in export markets, she noted, insisting that despite the country shifting from being low income to a middle income country and from a labour surplus economy to a labour shortage economy with an ageing population, it had failed to transform the economic structure and its sectors.

She pointed out that all three trade agreements Sri Lanka had signed in South Asia had failed to give meaningful market access to potential exports to drive the growth in the country’s economy. 

While the whole world is focusing on improving their relationship with Asia because it is considered as the Asian century, Sri Lanka unfortunately is missing its focus on this potential market, she said. 

“To this end we really need to have a policy to integrate with Asia. That should be one of the key points in our export policy. Right now beyond trade agreements, we do not see any other instruments in our policies that the Government is trying to pursue. But if they think that trade agreements are the only way forward, I do not think they will achieve the expected results,” Abeysinghe opined.

Noting that sound macroeconomic policies were critical to have a sound business environment, she affirmed that trade agreements would only be beneficial if the economy was managed well by the Government with a holistic approach towards development.

Voicing caution on the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), Abeysinghe refrained from commenting as no one as yet has a clear idea about the contents of the framework.   

“It is very difficult to see what the final shape of this animal would be because it will go through substantial changes. The best thing stakeholders can do is be involved in the process constructively and enlighten the Government that they need proactive consultants and be transparent about these negotiations,” she noted.

Pointing out it takes many rounds of consultation and years for countries to conclude an agreement, she said it was very difficult to comment on an agreement no one had seen.

Citing an example, she asserted that certain agreements made by India had taken over 70 rounds of consultation with some still under negotiation even after five years like the EU-India FTA, which also involves services.


Comments Off on Traditional exports could give SL leverage in trade deals–Expert


ADB study reports steady growth in Sri Lanka Exports

Posted on 23 September 2015 by admin

Lanka’s exports to pick up – ADB.










Exports will continue to improve in 2015 and 2016 as Sri Lanka’s partner economies pick up pace, an Asian Development Bank study in the region said.

Imports are expected to rise, though imports of investment goods will likely slow on more moderate investment. Higher domestic consumption will exert upward pressure on imports and shift the composition of imports away from investment to consumption goods, while low international oil and food prices will help contain total value. Earnings from tourism and remittances are expected to continue current growth trends,the report said.

They will contain the current account deficit at 1.4% of GDP in 2015. The deficit is projected to widen marginally to 1.5% in 2016 as the economy and domestic investment pick up.

Indications are that Sri Lanka is being viewed more favourably internationally with the change in government and its policies, which will attract higher foreign investment and cement trade ties, especially with Europe and the US. These factors will strengthen the balance of payments position in the medium term.

With GDP per capita estimated at about $3,700 in 2014, Sri Lanka is at the cusp of gaining upper-middle-income status. While the country has been focusing on infrastructure and human capital development, the time has come to adjust strategy to enable it to rise to the next stage of development. Private sector investment should take over the role of driving economic growth.

A new focus on human capital development has already started, and emphasis should gradually shift to higher skills and tertiary education to meet the market requirements of the knowledge economy.

With upper-middle-income status comes the need for greater gains in efficiency, or total factor productivity, to continue climbing to high-income status.

Sri Lanka should start by strengthening its technological readiness to accept technology transfer through foreign direct investment. At the same time, it should begin innovating.

The development of infrastructure and human resources should be adapted to this new policy agenda.

Growth in 2015 will be affected by the political transition and the revised priorities of the government. Construction will slow after leading growth in the recent years, driven by large government infrastructure projects. Political uncertainty would retard private investment.

While investment is likely to lose momentum in 2015, consumption is expected to pick up. Price reductions for food and fuel will encourage private consumption, and government consumption will rise with the shift in the budget toward recurrent expenditure.

Somewhat faster growth in advanced economies will benefit export industries such as apparel and tourism. How well agriculture performs after mixed fortunes over the past 5 years will depend on the weather, but increases in government-guaranteed prices for several agricultural products should boost production. Against this backdrop, assuming that politics settle in the second half of 2015 and that investment rebounds, growth is projected to ease to 7.0% in 2015 and then strengthen to 7.3% in 2016.

Inflation is expected to remain low in 2015, held in check by a series of reductions in fuel prices in September and December 2014 and January 2015 that are expected to restrain other prices. With international oil prices expected to remain low this year and next,inflationary pressures are eased.

Eight economies in the region posted growth exceeding 7.0% in nearly every year of the post-crisis period.

These include the PRC, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Sri Lanka. However, the oil and mineral exporters among those with consistently rapid growth may see their fortunes turn in the coming years as commodity prices stumble.

Developing Asia has been the main source of global growth since the crisis.

Asia has experienced rapid credit growth since the global financial crisis.

Postwar economic recovery in Sri Lanka is expected to moderate in 2015 as investors await clarity on the new administration’s plans for governance reform and economic policy.

Inflation in South Asia fell sharply to 7.1% last year, reflecting strong monetary action in India and the large drop in prices for oil and other commodities.

The sub region will continue to benefit from soft commodity prices, with inflation projected to average 5.1% in 2015 and 5.6% in 2016.

Sri Lanka and Vietnam have emerged as countries with the highest levels of foreign currency debt and many do not have forex revenues as a hedge. Corporations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam have the highest share of foreign currency debt. 








Comments Off on ADB study reports steady growth in Sri Lanka Exports


Sri Lanka Exports turn merry in X’mas to net $ 11 b in 2014

Posted on 10 February 2015 by admin

◾After YoY dip in November, December exports surge by 9% to $ 1 billion.
◾2014 annual exports up by 6.7% over 2013.
◾Looking to recover GSP+ too: Rishad.

Sri Lanka’s exports continued on its growth trend in Y2014, supported by a sudden monthly surge in December.
“We have a total $11 b of 2014 annual provisional merchandise exports just released by EDB, which is a year-on-year increase of 7%,” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.
“Under the guidance President Maithripala Sirisena, we are looking to expand our exports and recover the lost GSP plus facilities,” the Minister added, addressing the mini-installation event of Bandula Egodage as Chairman/CEO of the EDB. “I commend your efforts to increase Sri Lanka’s exports in 2014.”
Accordingly, as per the latest provisional merchandise only top line data, Sri Lanka’s exports for Y14 totalled $11.079 b, rising YoY by 6.67%. In the first nine months of 2014, exports were $ 10.1 billion, up 7.5% from the corresponding period of 2013. In the month of November exports were down by 10.7% to $921 million in comparison to a year earlier. However, in December provisional monthly data exports surged across the board, totalling $1.01 b growing by 8.72%. These numbers too do not yet reflect the service exports values of December.
The Ministry said 2014 full year and December data do not yet reflect the service exports values and therefore, actual exports values are expected to be much higher.
Apparels earned $4.9 b (rising by 9.26% from 2013) in 2014, industrial products at $8 b (rising by 6.1%), tea at $1.6 b (rising by 5.43%), agriculture products at $2.7 b (rising by 9%), and manufactured products at $2.4 b (rising by 9%).
Coconut exports were up by 49% to $538 m while fisheries increased by 8.5% to $265 m. Natural rubber declined by 36% to $46 m while other export crops dropped by 3% to $506 m. Diamonds and gems too experienced a decline – 15% to $ 372 m.
In December apparel exports rose by 7.3% to $450 m, industrial products rose by 9.7% to $734 m, manufacturing exports rose by 22% to $234 m, agri exports rose by 5% to $239 m, tea by 1.5% to $138 m, natural rubber up by 50% to $2.79 m, other export crops grew by 26% to $58 m, and fisheries up by 7.8% to $22.83 m.
Declines were experienced by coconuts (8% to $40 m) and diamonds, gems and jewellery (11% to $25 m).

Comments Off on Sri Lanka Exports turn merry in X’mas to net $ 11 b in 2014


Sri Lanka Exports surge by 6.2% in 2013

Posted on 24 January 2014 by admin

Sri Lanka’s exports, which suffered a YoY decline of 7% in 2012, returned with a bang in 2013 posting a 6.2% surge.

"I and EDB thank our exporters for their commitment for this strong performance" a Ministry of Industry and Commerce press release quoted Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen as saying.

The release adds: ‘Minister Bathiudeen was acknowledging the latest provisional annual export performance numbers briefed to him by his officials on January 22 in Colombo. ‘According to the latest provisional figures by the EDB, 2013 cumulative exports earnings stood at $ 10379.94 Mn, growing by 6.2% from 2012’s annual export revenues of $ 9773.63 Mn. ‘High performing export ‘drivers’ were agriculture products, apparels, ‘other export crops’, and even industrial products, thereby contributing to the turnaround.

‘Surging along were the tea and fisheries products sectors. ‘On a YoY basis from ’12 to ‘13, agriculture products grew by 10.3% to $ 2479.94 Mn, apparels by 13.31% to $4492.20 Mn, other export crops up by 42.9% to $ 521.43 Mn, and industrial products rose by 4.91% to $ 7618.20 Mn. ‘Tea surged YoY by 9.22% to $1526.75 Mn and fisheries products rose by 19.14% to $ 244.43 Mn. ‘While rubber, unclassified products, petroleum, gems and jewellery showed a slight decline, manufacturing and coconuts showed very minute percentages of decline while largely staying stable.

Comments Off on Sri Lanka Exports surge by 6.2% in 2013


SRI LANKA: Export earnings dropped by 2.9 percent in February 2013

Posted on 03 May 2013 by admin




Earnings from exports declined by 2.9 percent, year-on-year, to US dollars 798 million in February 2013, as earnings from both agricultural exports and industrial exports declined.

Earnings from exports of agricultural commodities declined mainly as a result of lower earnings from rubber and coconut exports. Lower export earnings from several items including diamonds, jewellery, petroleum products, rubber products and animal fodder resulted in earnings from industrial exports declining, a Central Bank release said.

Nevertheless, earnings from exports of garments and textiles, which have a significant share of around 40 percent in total exports, increased on an year-on-year basis, by 8.8 percent, in February 2013. Amongst agricultural exports, earnings from exports of spices, which have continued to exhibit an increasing trend since May last year, also recorded a further increase on a year-on-year basis, in February 2013.

Expenditure on imports declined by 9.3 percent, year-on-year, to US dollars 1,433 million in February 2013. Lower expenditure on imports of refined petroleum products, transport equipment, wheat, vehicles as well as dairy products have made a significant contribution towards the decline in import expenditure in February Economic Research Department May 5, 2013.

However, expenditure on imports of intermediate goods such as textiles and textile articles, gold, mineral products, diamonds and precious and semi-precious stones increased on a year-on-year basis in February 2013.

Imports of textiles and textile articles grew by 18.3 percent, year-on-year, in value terms, indicating higher potential earnings from exports of apparel products in the coming months. Import expenditure on investment goods meanwhile declined on a year-on-year basis in February 2013, as imports of transport equipment declined.

However, import expenditure on building materials and machinery and equipment categorised under investment goods, increased in February 2013. With respect to consumer goods imports, expenditure on imports of food and beverages as well as non-food consumer goods declined.

Vehicle imports, which declined by 41.4 percent, year-on-year, made the largest contribution towards the decline in expenditure on consumer goods imports.

Following the above discussed developments in relation to exports and imports in February 2013, the trade deficit for the first two months of 2013 declined by 20.3 percent, year-on-year to US dollars 1,424 million.

The multi-pronged policy strategy implemented during the first half of 2012 to curb the widening trade deficit has therefore continued to help reduce the deficit in the current account.

Tourist arrivals in February 2013 increased by 11.6 percent, year-on-year, to 93,232 while earnings from tourism grew at a healthy rate of 20.7 percent, year-on-year, to

US dollars 103 million. Recording a year-on-year growth of 4.2 of per cent, workers’ remittances amounted to US dollars 490 million in February 2013.

In comparison, workers’ remittances amounted to US dollars 470 million in February 2012. In February 2013, net inflows to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) amounted to US dollars 8.7 million compared to the net inflow of US dollars 16.3 million recorded in February 2012. Meanwhile, there have been substantial inflows of foreign investments to the Government securities market.

Net inflows to Treasury bills and Treasury bonds amounted to US dollars 212 million during February 2013 compared to a net inflow of US dollars 229 million in February 2012. On a cumulative basis net inflows to Treasury bills and Treasury bonds amounted to US dollars 501 million by end February 2013, compared to US dollars 400 million in the corresponding period in 2012. Further, in February 2013, long-term loans obtained by the government amounted to US dollars 132 million, while long-term loan inflows to the government on a cumulative basis amounted to US dollars 278 million by end February 2013, compared to US dollars 240 million by end February 2012.

Gross official reserves amounted to US dollars 6,670 million by end February 2013.

Comments Off on SRI LANKA: Export earnings dropped by 2.9 percent in February 2013


It is best to target EEC & Asia-Pacific Region for Sri Lanka Export Market

Posted on 22 July 2012 by admin

In the quest for growth and export promotion, Sri Lanka should tread strategically and work strengthening its target market. While the entire globe is up for grabs there are limitations that pose a challenge to successful entry into the world market. Both the public and private sector in Sri Lanka must look at this very closely and focus only on areas or regions that offer greater potential than the rest. Taking this into context, the European Union, Asia and the Far East Region have emerged as steady trading partners for long-term growth. Due to short transit times and cheaper ocean freight rates Asia-Pacific Region is a potential goldmine for Sri Lanka export market. North America somehow seems far from Sri Lanka's shores to gain meaningful entry on a big scale.

Business rendezvous begins tomorrow:

Thailand Roadshow to hit Colombo

Over 40 Sri Lankan companies with over100 Lankan business personnel were to participate in the glamorous Thai business feasta to be hled in Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel Colombo tomorrow. Premier Thai travel agents, hotels , entertainment and theme park and airlines will join their counterparts in the glittering evening in Colombo. "Amazing Thailand" Roadshow is organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Royal Thai Embassy in Colombo and Thai Tourism Industry.

TAT has organized the Amazing Thailand' Roadshow to update tourism products to the Sri Lankan counter part. "We would like to make the Sri Lankan market aware of different products available in Thailand through presentations.For example for family, Thailand's amazing entertainment parks and shopping opportunities, for youth we have soft adventure, and for religious folk our historic pristine Buddhist circuits etc," said Suladda Sarutilavan, Assistant Director, TAT.

Several Thai media organisations with scores of Sri Lankan counterparts would grace the occasion.This is the first time after two years that TAT is organizing the Roadshow in Colombo for which media from Thailand would participate. Several presentations and lucky draws for participants have been organized. "This is going to be a big event to enhance relationship between the two countries, Sri lanka and Thailand since both share Buddhist teachings," said a TAT official.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Deputy Governor Prakit Piriyakiet said that a survey by MasterCard Worldwide, published on www.CNNGo.com which is a popular international leisure and travel website, found that Bangkok was international holiday-maker's third-most favorite destination in 2012.

In 2011,Sri Lanka visitor arrivals totaled 53,626, up 7.82 % over 2010.During January-April 2012,Thailand welcomed 22,132 Sri Lankan visitors, up by 17.24 % over the same period of 2011, said Phanom Kaributra, Executive Director, ASEAN South Asia and South Pacific Region Department of Tourism Authority of Thailand " There is tremendous potential for tourism development between the two country's because the similarity of the cultural aspects and South Asia, was a major part of our tourism focus for 2012."

It has the best possible of all worlds "demographics, proximity and spending power. In addition to India, we also see strong potential to boost arrivals from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka," he said.

The Amazing Thailand' Roadshow would further boost Thai,Sri Lanka business ties an official said.


Comments Off on It is best to target EEC & Asia-Pacific Region for Sri Lanka Export Market

Advertise Here
Advertise Here



“What Matters To You, Matters To Us" .


In the world of online advertising, the success rate of creating brand awareness is 91%. Call 416-445-5390 or email timeslanka@rogers.com and let us offer you introductory rates and get you going! Our audience is primarily South Asians expat community and the Sri Lankan expat community globally.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5 other subscribers




“E-Mail timeslanka@rogers.com " .