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Sunday, 13 February 2005    
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EDB focuses on key products to achieve Rs 600 b export target

The Export Development Board (EDB) will focus on certain products to be promoted overseas in a big way in order to achieve a target of Rs. 600 billion in export revenue this year.

Sri Lanka's export performance in the global arena has achieved an encouraging 13 per cent growth by reaching Rs. 514 billion during the first eleven months in 2004, EDB Chairman Rohantha Athukorala said.

He said that the EDB will mainly focus on promoting rubber, coir, jewellery, spices and fruits internationally in the future. It is currently working towards regaining the Maldives fruit and vegetable market by moving to resorts which are doing well in that country.

There is a demand for fruits and vegetables in leading tourist resorts in the Maldives and the EDB is now in the process of promoting the products in lucrative markets.

Athukorala said that they also exploring ways and means to transport 1,000 tonnes of coir yarn that has been held up in Kurunegala to be moved to the South and in turn into coir ropes for geo textile markets in Europe and America.

An eminent US jewellery designer has also been contacted to promote the jewellery industry globally and the Sapphire Council is now in the process of driving the project with the assistance of the EDB, he added

At present, the EDB is assessing the damage caused to SME sector enterprises from the recent tsunami disaster as it was now reported to be a loss of Rs. 3 billion.

According to the EDB Chairman, Rs. 1 billion has been allocated by the Treasury to develop the SME sector while another Rs. 680 million has been allocated for 'Model Farms' development.

It has also tied up with PIM University of Sri Jayawardenapura where MBA graduates will focus on the key products in the SME sector to revive Sri Lanka's export growth in the future, Athukorala added. (HS)

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