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Interview: Sri Lankan official says Chinese market a boon for export diversification

Abstract : A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China would boost Sri Lanka's efforts to diversify its export market base, a senior government official said.

COLOMBO, March 3 (Xinhua) — A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China
would boost Sri Lanka‘s efforts to diversify its export market base, a
senior government official said.

“If a FTA is signed with China, it would tremendously assist us in
diversifying the narrow export market base, as we are heavily over
reliant on few market areas,” Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman
Suresh De Mel told Xinhua recently.

Sri Lanka and China decided to enter into a FTA in August 2013 to
further expand trade between the two countries, and the two sides have
held talks since then.

Sri Lanka’s top five export destinations in 2020 were the United
States, Britain, India, Germany and Italy, which together absorbed 50
percent of exports.

Shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic caused Sri Lanka’s merchandise
export revenue to dip from 11.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to 9.9
billion dollars in 2020.

However, export segments such as coconut and coconut-based products,
spices and concentrates, and other export crops saw considerable growth.

“We are making local producers aware of the food regulations in the
international market to encourage them to adhere to the quality and
safety standards in export destinations,” De Mel said.

De Mel said that the EDB has a Market Access Support Scheme to enable
local export-oriented SMEs to upgrade their technology and meet
international quality standards.

“We also organize exposure visits to international exhibitions for
SMEs through which they gain knowledge of the modern technology and
opportunity to build up contact with technology providers,” he said.

The EDB is targeting a revenue of 12.6 billion dollars from exports
of goods and 3.6 billion dollars from the export of services in 2021, De
Mel said. Enditem

About Xinhua Silk Road

Xinhua Silk Road (en.imsilkroad.com) is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) portal.China’s silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road website,includes BRI Policy, BRI Trade, BRI Investment, Belt and Road weekly, Know Belt and Road, and the integrated information services for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Source: Interview: Sri Lankan official says Chinese market a boon for export diversification

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