Sri Lanka to expand exports to Central Europe | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka to expand exports to Central Europe

Sri Lanka is exploring opportunities in new export markets for opportunities immediately as well as in the long run.

The Export Development Board has identified the Central European region as a potential market.

The potential of Central Europe remains largely untapped. The Region is open for business and attractive for long-term growth prospects. Although Sri Lanka has a strong image in the region, its commercial engagement has been relatively limited.

Sri Lanka’s total bilateral trade with Central European countries was $ 810 million last year with exports to Central Europe being $ 388 million and imports $ 422 million.

But these figures do not tell the entire story as it contains Sri Lanka’s healthy trade relations with only a few countries such as Poland and Hungary.

The EDB recently organised a trade mission to Central Europe covering Hungary and Poland. This was parallel to the first session of the Sri Lanka-Hungary Joint Commission in Budapest, Hungary.

Sri Lanka looks at Central Europe primarily as a market for our strategic industries. Sri Lanka exports tea, apparel, manufactured tobacco, rubber finished products, electrical and electronic products, coconut fibre, coconut kernel products, edible fish products, transport equipment and parts, coconut shell products, parts of footwear, spices, essential oils and oleoresins and processed food to the Central European region.

Recently, the EU launched its Europe-Asia connectivity strategy. It is important that Sri Lanka should look beyond the largest EU states of Western Europe and use the potential of cooperation in the Central European countries which complies with the uniform market rules which apply throughout the EU.

Sri Lanka and Central European countries have much to offer to each other.

They have stable macro-economic environment, highly educated, yet affordable workforce, favourable business environment and strategic location.

Geed Technologies, Bio Foods, Vintage Teas, Siddalepa Exports, Serendipol, Jetwing and Sen Wellness Sanctuary participated in the Business Forum followed by the B2B meetings from April 23 to 26 in Hungary and Poland.

They had the added advantage of joining the official delegation to the Joint Commission which initially provided an opportunity to organise this mission.

The business forum and B2B meetings in Hungary was organised by the Hungarian Export Promotion Agency (HEPA) and the Hungarian Embassy in New Delhi. The event was attended by the Co-Chairs of the Joint Commission; representing Sri Lanka, Secretary of the Ministry of Development Strategy and International Trade and István Joó, Deputy State Secretary for Export Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary. This event was coordinated by the Commercial secretary of Hungarian Embassy in New Delhi, Szolt Padazky.

Over 45 Hungarian companies attended the forum and over 30 B2B meetings were conducted.