EDB seeks new markets in Central Europe | Sunday Observer

EDB seeks new markets in Central Europe

Exporters are working towards achieving set targets, in terms of revenue and volume for the year, despite the new challenges due to the recent bomb attacks, the Export Development Board (EDB) Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, Indira Malwatte said.

“We are working hard to meet the target of US $ 20 billion for this year and will change our approach to a more outward looking strategy. There will be no downward revision of targets, and we will make a collective effort to reach the expected numbers,” she said.

The EDB has increased its promotional campaigns as many buyers have cancelled their programs including one from Thailand. This is usually the season when buyers come to Sri Lanka for order placements, but the recent incidents have discouraged them. Several buyer programs had been lined up for them.

“We are changing our approach and carrying out missions outside the country. We visited Poland and Hungary recently to move away from traditional markets and also to benefit from the GSP plus facility. Market diversification will play a key role in enhancing exports and we will be aggressively looking at entering Central Europe in a big way, to use the GSP plus benefit effectively,” she said.

Sri Lanka while concentrating on the traditional markets such as UK, Netherlands, France and Germany will also focus on market diversification.

The Hungary and Poland visits were aimed at promoting food and beverages (F&B), as well as wellness tourism which are two key sectors coming under the National Export Strategy. These exports will enable the country to better use the under-utilised GSP plus facility.

“Hopefully there will be a ten-member delegation from the food and beverage and hospitality trades visiting Sri Lanka from Poland with the inaugural flight in November. With this kind of activity in place, we are looking for outward delegations at present,” she said.

“We need to make maximum use of this time to develop our supply capabilities. It is important to scale up supply development and we need to build the confidence of our people to invest, so as to gainfully harness supply development.

There needs to be a certification process and we should be ready to welcome the growth pick-up in the next season,” she said.

Sri Lanka is a resilient nation. It is necessary to make use of this period to look at positively and concentrate on niche products. Exporters should be encouraged to invest more on research and development at this time of adversity, so as to make their products reach world standards.

However, we are concerned about the confidence building process and need to work towards reaching satisfactory levels, Malwatte said.