Lanka will be a certified organic products exporter soon - EDB chief | Sunday Observer

Lanka will be a certified organic products exporter soon - EDB chief

15 August, 2021
Suresh De Mel
Suresh De Mel

Sri Lanka will be certified exporter for organic products in five years time as the country targets to be a hundred percent chemically free nation said Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman, Suresh D. de Mel addressing a virtual forum on ‘Strategic Interventions on Covid - hit exports in Sri Lanka: How to overcome barriers?’ hosted by the Central Bank Last week.

Outlining the emerging trends for export markets under the new normal the chief of the export promotion body noted that Sri Lanka will be known as a clean food producer in the world soon which augurs well with the global trend tilted towards going green and promoting environmentally friendly products. Social commerce services, video conferencing and virtual trade fairs are some of the other key emerging export market trends under the new normal  De Mel said, while stressing the positive impact of the recent virtual conference held by the EDB  with the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Guangzhou and the Department of Commerce of Fujian that drew over 11,000 participants from China and Sri Lanka. The Fujian, China - Sri Lanka Economic  and Trade Forum and Matchmaking held late last month with the participation of  the Sri Lanka Tea Board, National Gem and Jewellery Authority, Sri Lanka Coconut Development Authority, Board of Investment and the Department of Commerce, and Sri Lankan Export companies covering areas  of bilateral trade, economic scenario of both countries, trade potential for Sri Lanka in Fujian province and e-commerce platforms in Fujian which are applicable to promote Sri Lanka’s products and find buyers in China.

“The Fujian province on the southeastern coast of China which imports goods to the value of around USD 80.6 annually,  is a major market that Sri Lanka should exploit for its  products,” De Mel said, adding that Sri Lanka should focus on promoting niche products rather than focusing on conventional products and also comparing export markets as the size of each market varies.

“We cannot compare Sri Lanka with Vietnam or Bangladesh  as their production levels are higher. Bangladesh has over 6,000 garment factories. Focusing on niche products will help Sri Lankan exporters to reach a wide spectrum of buyers rather than limiting to traditional products which are dominated by  ‘big brothers’, De Mel said.

The head of the apex body for exports underscored the importance of customer communication and relations and labour communication and relations to overcome trade barriers.

The EDB initiated clearance for uninterrupted factory operations, facilitated vaccination, communicating container requirements of exporters and lobbying with authorities and setting up a sectoral help desk  to facilitate exports since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year.

However, there are certain factors beyond the control of Sri Lanka which impedes exports, de Mel said.

As per the statistics released by the Customs, the export sector  maintained its upward trend in June 2021 with exports increasing by 9.41  percent to US$ 978.2 million compared to corresponding month last year. Merchandise exports in the first half of  this  year  was US$ 5,561.72 million, an increase of 27.49% over US$ 4,362.34 million in the first half of the year 2020.

In June last year, exports of rubber based products, electrical and electronic components, spices and concentrates and gem and jewellery recorded double-digit growth compared with June last year. On a year-on-year basis exports of apparel, tea and coconut based products increased by 3.01%, 7.81% and 8.61%.

Apparel exports which were valued at US$ 414.14 million and constituted 42.3% of total merchandise exports increased by 3.01% from June 2020 , tea exports recorded value of US$ 123.91 mn which constitutes 12.7% of total merchandise exports increased by 7.81% from June 2020, rubber based products, US$ 95.5 million, 9.8% of total merchandise exports improved by 38.63%,  coconut products, US$ 70.61 mn, 7.2% of total merchandise exports increased by 8.61% and electronics & Electronic Components, US$ 37.67 mn, 4.8% of total merchandise exports increased by 21.28%.

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