‘Focus on niche markets need of the hour’
The need for the export sector to focus on certain Key areas such as
niche markets and high end value added products, particularly where Sri
Lanka has a competitive and comparative advantage as well as greater
attention to expand the export of Services where there is potential for
Sri Lanka to grow is needed, said Chairperson Exporters Association
Nirmalie Samaratunga at the AGM of the Exporters Association.
She said that IT and the Software Sector including Business Process
Outsourcing is one sector that has performed well despite the global
downturn. Sri Lanka is now among the top ten countries in the world and
therefore rather than trying to compete with India and similar players
at the lower end of the market, the strategy should be, to identify the
niche markets where the country has strengths, and move towards
Knowledge Process Outsourcing, and concentrate on developing the areas
such as accountancy and healthcare. This is also a sector which has one
of the highest value addition, whilst having the potential to become a
Billion Dollar Industry for Sri Lanka.
Another key area to be developed is the agro industry, where Sri
Lanka needs to focus on indigenous crops with export potential such as
passion fruit, pineapple, banana and mango, where Sri Lanka has a
comparative advantage, and a growing market overseas. In this field, Sri
Lankan Exporters can enter into partnerships with rural farmers, and
make maximum use of these opportunities.
There is a growing demand for Organic Agricultural Products therefore
it needs to be developed as this Sector can be a significant player in
Looking more closely at our Regional Markets is another strategy.
Despite the Global downturn and recession in our traditional markets of
Europe, USA and Japan, we have two giants, India and China whose
economies, seem to be showing greater resilience and are recovering much
faster than the rest of the world. It is necessary for our exporters to
concentrate on these markets and exploit them, as it will enable the
Sector to minimize the impact of the global economic recession.
Potential in the newly liberated areas of the country also should be
explored- With the North and East opening up, there is tremendous scope
for the fishing and agriculture industry to make a significant impact on
the Export Sector. Exporters need to position themselves immediately to
maximize on this new opportunity, with emphasis on developing our
non-traditional agricultural exports.
Meanwhile Branding and Value Addition should continue as a priority.
There should be value addition for traditional exports such as tea,
rubber, coconut based products, spices as well as fruits, flowers,
vegetables, sea food and gems as the way forward is through value
addition and building Sri Lankan brands wherever possible.
She said, that as the apex body representing over 1,000 Exporters
through direct and indirect membership, who contribute to cover 80% of
the total exports in the country, the Exporters Association has been
actively addressing some of the issues with the Institutions concerned.
Issues requiring attention include, the continuing problem of obtaining
outstanding VAT refunds, the need for greater ease of doing business at
Customs and Port, expediting Public Entities to position themselves by
simplifying procedures and business re-engineering to cater to
electronic transacting and electronic data interchange, and the need for
on line payment facilities with Government agencies to be made