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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 727

Sri Lanka’s much awaited Int’l exports show: ‘Rising export income will solve critical BoP issue’ says Minister Basil

Colombo, 16 March, (Asiantribune.com):

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Increasing Sri Lanka’s export volumes further will help solve the crucial Balance of Payment issue. “Sri Lanka is now faced with the Balance of Payments issue which has become a crucial, if not the most pressing economic issue at this moment. This is due to the growing domestic demand as a result of our new economic growth. I believe that expansion of exports and resulting revenue can be a promising way out from this situation” said Basil Rajapaksa,Minister of Economic Development of Sri Lanka.

Minister Rajapaksa was addressing the multi ministerial press briefing on forthcoming Sri Lanka Expo 2012, held on 15 March at the auditorium of the Ministry of Economic Development.

A total of 285 Sri Lankan businesses will be taking part in the show, of which 23 are from gems, diamond and jewellery, 22 from tea and 21 from Apparel sector which will begin on 28 March and end on 31 at the BMICH, Colombo.

294 international buyers have already registered, of which 133 from East Asia/Pacific, 77 from South Asia, while the others are EU/Russia (42), Americas (28) and Middle East and Africa (14). 25 international journalists will also be taking part.

Among the sponsors for the event are MAS, Brandix, Prima Ceylon, HSBC, Mushan International, Dilmah, Akbar Bros, Baurs, SriLankan Airlines, Dialog and Trillium Residencies. Initially, Expo 2102 event was planned as a two day event but now it has been expanded to four days with last two days of the event open to the Sri Lankan public. Sri Lanka Export Development Board under the Ministry of Industry & Commerce is the organizer of the mega Expo 2012 event. The mega show is a collection of exhibitions, a symposium, networking sessions, B2B meetings and industrial visits. Among the product sectors in focus are industrial, agriculture &fishery, export services sector (ICT / BPO/KPOs, electrical & electronics, and professional services). The symposium will consist three sessions: Investment Session (28th March), Trade Session (29th March) and the Tourism Session (30th March). Promotional packages are extended to overseas trade &ministerial delegations and even journalists.

“Now we are witnessing economic progress across all the sectors in Sri Lanka despite a climate of global recession. Our economy is growing due many factors, specially due to the end of war and also due to north and east integrating back to national production process” Minister Basil said. “As the domestic production including the agro output grew due to the support given by the government, domestic consumer prices are now falling. The way to safeguard the farmer from the falling prices is to channel the surplus produce to the export markets”Minister Rajapaksa added, and said. “But we need steady export volumes continuously for us to compete in the export market which is not an easy task given that our products are seasonal. To overcome this we have started introducing greenhouse farming technology to Sri Lanka.”

Minister Rajapaksa added: “The government of Sri Lanka is keen to control at least 10 to 15% of local and domestic supply (volumes). We have achieved already this in our interventions in the paddy sector.”

Speaking of Expo 2012, Minister Rajapaksa said: “Seeing the progress made so far I have no doubts that the forthcoming Sri Lanka Expo 2012will be a successful event. I commend Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce for his efforts in canvassing the event with many foreign countries while in here and while he is abroad. I am also pleased to note that Expo 2012 has provided the opportunity for the SME sector to exhibit their products. I am pleased that Expo 2012 is directly linking the produce from Divineguma effort to our exporters. These products are coming from the lower incomeend of our supply chain and therefore are a positive development that Expo 2012 assisting this sector.”

Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka, under whose Ministry the Export Development Board (EDB) functions, said: “I am pleased to state that Under Mahinda Rajapaksa, our President’s leadership, our export that were around $ six billion when he became the President is now around $ 10 billion and we expect an export target of $ 15 billion by 2015. This mega exhibition, which is now a national event is held after 15 years in Sri Lanka, will show our export power to international markets while also focusing on tourism and investment promotion. It is held on the theme of “Partnering with the Hub of Asia”. 1000 committed international buyers shortlisted will bearriving in Sri Lanka for this event. Sri Lankan exporters will exhibit their products through 370 stalls -300 from exporters and 70 from SME sector.”

Janaka Ratnayaka, Chairman and CEO of EDB, making the presentation, said: “Held on the theme of “Partnering with the Hub of Asia”,Sri Lanka Expo 2012 will be on show from 28th to 31th March 2012 at Sirimavo Bandaranayke Memorial Exhibition Centre at BMICH, Colombo. The Expo 2012 will also instill international buyer confidence in Sri Lanka. Already 1000 serious international buyers have enlisted with 294 already registering as of today. We have already conducted many international road-shows, magazine ads, TV ads and promotion with trade chambers and many special events have been held to promote this exhibition.”

Earl Gunesekera (Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries) said: “We are now trying to generate more foreign exchange revenues from our tea exports. We already supply 19% of world demand for tea.”

Reginold Coorey (Minister of Minor Export Crop Promotion) addressing the press brief, said: “Our effort is to increase yield per hectare rates especially in our minor export crops. We are also trying to reduce raw form exports and increase value addition.”

Jagath Pushpakumara (Minister Coconut Development),addressing the briefing said: “Two years a ago we had a shortfall of coconuts. After adopting market and agriculture boosting strategies, we now have surplus of coconuts from the latest harvests for this year.”

During the first week of December 2011, the government established a the powerful “Sri Lanka Expo 2012 High Level Inter-Ministerial Committee” is headed by Dr. Sarath Amunugama, the Minister (Senior) for International Monetary Co-operation.

The other members of the powerful Committee are Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and ME Development, Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, RishadBathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mrs. Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister of Technology and Research, and Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industry.

In addition, a high-level “Official Committee” has also been appointed. It’s lead by Secretary,Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr Tilak Collure. Other members of it arethe Chairman, Sri Lanka Export Development Board, the Chairman of Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Chairman of Tourism Development Authority, and the Chairman of Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Authority.

- Asian Tribune –

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