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Exhibitions in major cities planned:

Export revenue to top $ 10 b this year



A dragon fruit exporter

Export revenue will reach US$ 10 billion by the end of this year if the current export growth rate continues during the rest of the year, said Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman, Janaka Ratnayake.Revenue from exports grew 72 percent in January and 52 percent in February this year compared to the corresponding months last year. Export revenue recorded a 17 percent growth last year compared to the previous year.

Though export earnings have increased the trade deficit widened last year according to data.

The trade deficit in 2010 widened over 66 percent to US$ 5.2 billion from US$ 3.1 billion in 2009 while cumulative earnings from exports increased by 17.3 percent and expenditure on imports increased by 32.4 percent. Sri Lanka earned a record US$ 1.37 billion in tea exports last year exceeding that of Kenya.

Tea export earnings from exporting 314 million kilos last year were 16 percent more than 2009. Earnings from garment exports to the US and EU increased by 33.9 percent and 31.4 percent in December 2010. The government targets export earnings of US$ 20 billion by 2020.

Garments, tea, rubber, ICT, BPO and KPO sectors, gems and jewellery and ceramics are some of the main export industries in the country.

“The EDB will launch an e-directory for exporters which will comprise personal profiles and products and service profiles to enhance exports”, Ratnayake said.

He said a website on gem and jewellery will be launches to promote exports of Sri Lanka’s precious stones.

It is believed that the engagement ring of Prince William to Kate Middleton is studded with a Sri Lankan blue sapphire.

“EDB has got the nod to use the lion logo on cinnamon exports. Earnings from cinnamon exports last year were US$ 83 million”, Ratnayake said.

The three-day Expo Bazaar organised by the EDB for the first time attracted a large crowd over the weekend. A wide range of export items were on display.

Ratnayaka said there is a huge demand for Sri Lanka’s ornamental fish, fresh fruits and handicraft in foreign markets. EDB will reward innovation and support exports of new products.

“The EDB will hold a series of international exhibitions in major cities across the globe during the year to showcase Sri Lanka’s products and services”, Ratnayake said.

Sri Lanka exports around 4,000 items to over 100 countries and faces stiff competition from emerging markets such as Bangladesh, Vietnam and

Kenya for tea and garments.

Export revenue has been on a decline due to the turmoil in the Middle East and Japan. The financial crisis in certain European countries is affecting exports to an extent.Tea exports to the Middle East has slowed down due to the crisis in the region. Libya is a major buyer of Sri Lankan tea with exports of around 10 million kgs reaching the destination. USA and Europe are two major buyers of Sri Lankan garments.

The withdrawal of the GSP Plus has an impact on apparel exports as large scale exporters have not fully recovered from the termination of the zero duty export facility.

 

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