SL launches roadmap to become regional trade hub | Sunday Observer

SL launches roadmap to become regional trade hub

Sri Lanka’s newly launched five-year National Export Strategy (NES), a public-private collaboration aimed at raising export revenue to US$ 28 billion by 2022, has provided a clear roadmap for the entire export community concerning the interventions required to transform the island’s export sector, say officials. The NES which envisions Sri Lanka as an export hub driven by innovation and investment focuses on the short and medium term approaches aimed at elevating exports from the current level of around US$ 10 billion.

“NES will aim to build more and more export brands from Sri Lanka from high value and high quality produce across many priority sectors. It will also have an impact on the trade reforms that we hope to undertake,” Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrema said.

The main objectives of NES are to create a business-friendly predictable and transparent policy and regulatory frameworks that support exports, to strengthen the market entry and compliance capacities of exporters, to become an efficient trade and logistics hub to facilitate exports and to drive export diversification through innovation and the strengthening of emerging sectors.

“NES provides a unique window of opportunity for Sri Lanka to modernise and start a new cycle of export growth. It advocates a multifaceted approach which is devised incorporating the thoughts of related stakeholders and builds on consensus from the entire export community about what is needed to boost the country’s export performance,” the Minister pointed out.

The priority sectors identified in the NES are Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT/BPM), Wellness Tourism, Boating Industry, Electrical and Electronic Components, Processed Food and Beverages, Spices and Concentrates, Trade Information and Promotion, Logistics and National Quality Infrastructure.

“It is up to the private sector to ensure the robustness of this strategy in taking it forward and generating more and more export revenue, expanding into new markets as well as to sustain the objectives of the strategy,” President of the National Chamber of Exporters, Ramal Jayasinghe said.

Meanwhile, the Free Trade Zone Manufacturers’ Association (FTZMA), the apex body of export manufacturers operating in the Katunayaka Export Processing Zone last week whilst welcoming the launch of the NES, urged the Government to pay attention to the labour shortage issues faced by member companies of the FTZMA.

“There are about 5000 vacancies currently and we think in order to meet this high demand, we might have to look outside of Sri Lanka for labour,” said President FTZMA, Abdeen.

Founded in 1981, FTZMA comprises of both foreign and local companies that have established export-oriented business in the Katunayaka Export Processing Zone, the largest EPZ in Sri Lanka. 

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