EDB targets $ 10 b in merchandise exports | Sunday Observer

EDB targets $ 10 b in merchandise exports

17 January, 2021

The Export Development Board (EDB), the apex body driving exports, a key foreign exchange source to the country, targets an export income of US$ 10.15 billion in merchandise exports and US$ 4.58 billion in services exports this year.

‘Action Plan 2021’ aimed at boosting export income through diversified exports to niche markets is aligned with the new revised strategic plan formulated by the EDB considering the current global situation.

The key strategic objectives of the plan are:

Supporting exporters to bolster their exports, promote new exports from Sri Lanka to transform the current Sri Lanka export basket, diversify into new markets, enhance capacity building and generate export-led foreign investment into the country.

EDB Chairman Suresh de Mel said the Action Plan is being developed with a focus on sustaining exports this year while protecting the industries and exploring new export avenues created due to the pandemic and added that it is done in consultation with the EDB Advisory Committees and sector associations. The EDB initiatives mainly align with three key policies of the National Policy Framework of the Government – friendly and non-aligned foreign policy, technology-based society and people centric economic development. “The EDB focuses also on SME development and value addition. The EDB carry out a number of aligned activities in this direction,” De Mel said.

The strategic plan also includes exporter facilitation, increasing market access globally for Sri Lankan products and services, organize Sri Lanka’s participation at international trade fairs/ events in selected priority and emerging markets, organize inward and outward trade missions in selected markets, market intelligence, implementation and... Monitoring of National Export Strategy, export supply base development, new exporter development, women entrepreneurs development, One Village - One Product Program (OVOP), branding Sri Lanka and positioning Sri Lankan products globally, Ceylon Cinnamon brand development and promotion program, Geographical Indication (GI) for Ceylon Cinnamon, protect the credibility and safeguard the image of organic agriculture value chain in Sri Lanka, continuation of the “Export Market Access Support” program, market promotion assistance scheme, setting up Advisory Committees, addressing Industry specific issues and resolving problems faced by exporters (Exporters’ Forum).

The EDB also conducts programs to promote exports such as recognizing exporters through awarding Presidential Export Awards, providing trade statistics and buyers information, publications - Business Lanka Magazine, SL Directory of Exporters 2020, provision of trade information, market intelligence, e-commerce services, export related publications and Promotional Brochures, Certificate Courses - Conduct training programmes on import and export procedures, Operational Aspects of International Trade and export packaging, e-Library and EDB Corporate Video 2020, Online trade platform – web site, online promotion of Sri Lankan products and services through the EDB website, conducting awareness programs on export related subjects, skill development programmes and entrepreneurship development programs and Human Resources Management.

Earnings from merchandise exports recorded a negative growth of 20.97% in November 2020 to US$ 747.58 million compared to US$ 978.80 million recorded in the corresponding month of 2019 due to the adverse impact of second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

Decreases in exports were recorded in top 10 export markets in November last year compared to November 2019. Although, exports to CIS Region recorded a marginal increase in November 2020 compared to November 2019, exports to other regions were declined.

“From January to November last year, earnings from exports recorded US$ 11.84 billion including the estimated services data for July to November which is an 88.47% achievement from the revised export target of US$ 13.39 billion set for last yer.

Therefore, our resilient export community and all employees in the export sector should be admired for this remarkable performance in the prevailing crisis situation in the country and globally,” De Mel said, adding that although the adverse impact of second wave of the pandemic on the export sector, agriculture exports such as coconut based, spices specially cinnamon were much stronger than expected in November last year.”