‘Lanka should eye export-friendly goods to EU’ | Sunday Observer

‘Lanka should eye export-friendly goods to EU’

6 September, 2020
Denis Chaiby
Denis Chaiby

As bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and the European Union has always been favourable to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka should focus on manufacturing products which are export-friendly to EU nations, the Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Denis Chaiby told a gathering in Colombo last week.

The Delegation partnering with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) in Sri Lanka, co-organised a kick-off conference on their initiative ‘Sustainable Supply Chains as drivers for global competitiveness’.

Stressing the importance of sustainability-related documentation, the initiative aims to raise awareness among Sri Lankan exporters to increase the global competitiveness of Sri Lankan products and to facilitate market access to the EU and US.

“The net trade balance between Sri Lanka and the EU is over USD 2.1 billion in favour of Sri Lanka. We are happy about it and it is not our objective to change it,” Chaibi said.

Highlighting certain guidelines and requirements to export Sri Lankan products to the EU, the Ambassador said, “If you take China and Sri Lanka trade balance, Sri Lanka imports products worth USD 4 billion from China and exports goods worth USD 200 million. Therefore, it is still worth trying to comply with EU standards. The EU market is three times bigger than the Chinese market.”

Responding to a question raised by a representative from a local chamber, Chaibi outlined the situation in Europe after Covid-19 and its economic impact.

“I do not see that the European business community taking advantage of Covid-19. If you look thoroughly many businesses which did not have an online presence in Europe are closed for good,” he said.

A series of training, assessments and certification will be conducted targeting the sectors such as apparel, and agriculture and Sri Lankan companies’ representatives will be trained on how to comply with global and EU related sustainability standards under this program.

Chief Delegate of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka, Andreas Hergenroether said, “The primary reason for the delegation to partner the initiative was to support Sri Lankan exporters to obtain broader market access.”

Representatives of entities that engage in fair trade practices including the COO of MAS Holdings, Shirendra Lawrence, Director of DSI Group, Dilshan Rajapaksa and General Manager of Aqua Dynamics, Lalindra Fernando were also present.