Sri Lanka will be a certified exporter of organic products in five years, with the country aiming to be one hundred percent a chemical-free nation, said Export Development Board (EDB) chairman Suresh D. de Mel, addressing a virtual forum on ‘Strategic Interventions on Covid – Hitting Sri Lanka Exports: How to Overcome the Barriers? Hosted by the Central Bank last week.

Describing emerging trends for export markets under the new standard, the head of the export promotion body noted that Sri Lanka will soon be known as a clean food producer in the world, which augurs well with the global trend to go green and promote environmentally friendly products. . Social commerce services, video conferencing and virtual trade fairs are some of the other key emerging trends in export markets under the new normal, De Mel said, while highlighting the positive impact of the recent virtual conference organized by the EDB with the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Guangzhou and the Fujian Ministry of Commerce which attracted over 11,000 participants from China and Sri Lanka. The Fujian, China – Sri Lanka Economic and Business Forum and the Twinning took place late last month with the participation of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the National Gem and Jewelery Authority, the Sri Lanka Coconut Development Authority, the Board of Investment and Department of Commerce, and Sri Lanka Lankan export companies covering areas of bilateral trade, economic scenario of the two countries, Sri Lanka’s trade potential in Fujian province and e-commerce platforms in Fujian which are applicable to promote products from Sri Lanka and find buyers in China.

“Fujian Province, on the southeast coast of China, which imports goods worth around US $ 80.6 per year, is a major market that Sri Lanka should tap into for its products,” said De Mel, 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 because their production levels are higher. Bangladesh has more than 6,000 garment factories. Focusing on niche products will help Sri Lankan exporters reach a wide range of buyers rather than limiting themselves to traditional products dominated by the “big brothers,” De Mel said.

The head of the umbrella body for exports stressed the importance of communication and customer relations and communication and working relationships to overcome trade barriers.

EDB initiated authorization of uninterrupted plant operations, facilitated vaccination, communicated container exporters’ requirements and lobbied authorities and set up a sector help desk to facilitate exports since. the start of the pandemic early last year.

However, there are certain factors beyond Sri Lanka’s control that hamper exports, de Mel said.

According to statistics released by Customs, the export sector continued its upward trend in June 2021, with exports increasing 9.41% to $ 978.2 million from the corresponding month last year. Merchandise exports in the first half of this year amounted to US $ 5,561.72 million, an increase of 27.49% from US $ 4,362.34 million in the first half of 2020.

In June of last year, exports of rubber products, electrical and electronic components, spices and concentrates, and precious stones and jewelry recorded double-digit growth compared to June of the last year. On a year-over-year basis, exports of clothing, tea and coconut products increased 3.01%, 7.81% and 8.61%.

Clothing exports, which were valued at US $ 414.14 million and made up 42.3% of total merchandise exports, increased 3.01% from June 2020, tea exports recorded a value of US $ 123.91 million, accounting for 12.7% of total merchandise exports, increased 7.81% from June 2020, rubber products, US $ 95.5 million, 9.8% of total merchandise exports increased by 38.63%, coconut products, 70.61 million USD, 7.2% of total merchandise exports increased by 8.61% and electronics and electronic components, 37 , 67 million USD, 4.8% of total merchandise exports increased by 21.28%.

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