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Sri Lanka’s exports surpass US $ 10 billion in 2011

Sri Lanka's export sector reached a significant milestone by surpassing the US$ 10 billion export revenue mark for the first time last year.

The export sector recorded $ 10.4 billion in 2011 representing a growth of 22.3 percent.


Janaka Ratnayake

The sector which faced a setback in 2009 due to global financial crisis rebounded strongly in 2010. The momentum gathered by the sector improved further to reach significant performance, Export Development Board Sri Lanka Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Janaka Ratnayake said.

Year 2011 was a very good for exports where the sector performed well above the expectations by exceeding the revenue target of $ 9.1 billion set for the year, With the earnings from the service sector added, the total exports would exceed $ 11 billion mark, he said.

The improved performance of the export sector in 2011 was driven by two major sectors of agricultural and industrial products which recorded 10.6 percent and 27.3 percent growth rates respectively.

Sri Lanka's exports to all key markets increased substantially during last year. USA which is the major export market absorbed nearly 20 percent followed by UK 11 percent, Belgium 5.2 percent and India 10 percent. Exports to USA increased by a significant 26 percent, while exports to UK, Belgium and India grew by 12.4 percent, 46.5 percent and 10 percent respectively.

The EU region which absorbed 34 percent of the total exports from Sri Lanka during 2011 grew remarkably by 24 percent. This demonstrates the ability of our exports to compete in the EU markets without the GSP+ facility. Seven key product sectors have been identified as the major contributors in the target to reach $ 15 billion by 2015. These sectors are apparel, tea, rubber and rubber products, gems and jewellery, ICT/BPO, food and beverages and spices and allied products. The product sectors have been selected on the basis of their current size, export performance and the potential to grow.

We are confident that the 2015 target could be achieved sooner than expected and strategic plans are in place to increase the volumes and values of the export base.

The Sri Lanka Expo 2012 is the mega trade, investment and tourism exhibition under the theme “Partnering with Hub of Asia” that will create the synergy for the anticipated export growth, Ratnayake said.

Sri Lanka Expo 2012 to be held from March 28 to 31 at the BMICH will be a spectacular showcase of the country's export quality products and services attracting industry experts, public and private sector, trade and investment associations and international buyers world over offering a rich multicultural mosaic of knowledge to visitors. The Expo comprises a unique combination of an international exhibition, symposium, business meetings and other corporate events.

This exhibition is held after a lapse of 14 years and we see this as an ideal opportunity to attract more buyers while focusing more on quality products and niche markets. There will be over 370 exporters including 70 SMEs showcasing capabilities. The event is held in the backdrop of aggressive promotional campaigns carried out in major exporting countries where over 1,000 registered visitors will attend the Expo 2012 from countries such as USA, Belgium, UK, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Korea, Pakistan, India, UAE and Bangladesh, Ratnayake said.

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