SL on track to achieve 2018 export target, says EDB chief | Sunday Observer

SL on track to achieve 2018 export target, says EDB chief

A token of appreciation being presented to EDB Chairperson Indira Malwatte. Pic: Chaminda Niroshana
A token of appreciation being presented to EDB Chairperson Indira Malwatte. Pic: Chaminda Niroshana

Sri Lanka is on the right track to achieve the 2018 export target of US $ 17.5 billion set by the government, Chairperson, Export Development Board of Sri Lanka, Indira Malwatte said.

By the end of July, the country had achieved 60 percent of the year’s target. The second half is the best performing period, she said at the press conference organised by Messe Frankfurt, the fairs and exhibition services provider, in Colombo last week.

“The government has set a US $ 20 billion export revenue target for 2018 and $ 23 billion for 2020. The export target set for 2025 is US $ 28 billion and these targets are now falling in line and are achievable,” she said.

Local exporters are highly motivated and we are committed to developing the export sector. The government is continuing its support to increase the export value and volume and ensure better performance, she said. Sri Lanka does not include revenue generated from the tourism industry to the export figures unlike some other countries. Today, Sri Lanka’s export trends are shifting from merchandise to service oriented exports. I am confident that service exports would surpass the merchandise exports in years to come, Malwatte said.

The country’s service sector is dominated by BPO services, ITC and logistics.

“This is why the Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA would be very advantageous for Sri Lanka as it would help to promote the service sector even better. Everybody, especially the government united to defeat terrorism. Similarly, people must rally around the exporters and give maximum assistance to them as exports and FDIs are key to economic growth,” she said.

The proposed China-Sri Lanka FTA too would help to woo more Chinese investments to Sri Lanka as it would be easier for them to manufacture in Sri Lanka and export back to China avoiding taxes that are imposed on local manufacturing.

Other than that, Chinese manufacturers can also take the advantage of the Indo–Sri Lanka FTA and export to India and also to Pakistan. Commending the global exhibitions organised by Messe Frankfurt, Malwatte said that four Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers participated at the 2017 ‘Ambiente’ event in Paris along with four fashion designers. She expressed the hope that there will be more participants this year.

“We are happy with Sri Lankan participants at the last year’s event and they are also expecting to attract more for the 2018 event which would be held in Paris in September and for their other events as well,” Messe Frankfurt CEO of Sri Lanka, Omer Salahuddin said.

“With 800 years of experience in organizing trade fairs, Messe Frankfurt is today one of the global leaders in the fair organising industry, while generating sales of 661 million Euros and more than 271 million Euros sales were generated outside Germany,” he said.

“We are planning to set up a regional office in Colombo by the end of this year and expand our services as we consider Sri Lanka to be an important market.

A Board Member will visit the country in the near future following up with a trend seminar in Colombo. There will also be a designer and student delegation to create awareness regarding the opportunities,” he said.

Messe Frankfurt is the largest European company in China and eight South Asian countries are handled by it.