Home » Government reinvigorates export sector despite global challenges

Government reinvigorates export sector despite global challenges


By: Staff Writer

February 26, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka’s export sector is to be reinvigorated by entering into free trade agreements with India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and China by the end of 2024 moving away from limited market access.

The recently released fifth Export Barometer Survey by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce showcases the resilience of Sri Lankan exporters despite a challenging global outlook.

In a survey covering 2023 and forecasting 2024, exporters expressed confidence in their growth prospects.

Amidst economic dynamics, the export sector exhibited robust growth in 2023. Exporters stressed that increasing utility prices and the cost of transport and logistics posed significant challenges during 2023.

Service-oriented exporters grappled with a lack of skilled labour, highlighting a sector-specific challenge that warrants attention. However, most exporters identified new business opportunities, leading to workforce expansion to meet growing production demands.

Digital transformation was a key trend, with exporting firms, especially SMEs, leveraging digital tools for streamlined processes.

From digital marketing to cutting-edge technologies, exporters embraced innovation to enhance global visibility.

Political stability and a consistent energy supply were identified as crucial facilitators for operational optimisation. 

Despite global uncertainties, Sri Lankan exporters remain optimistic about economic and export growth in 2024.

Looking ahead, exporters plan to implement strategic measures, including adopting more competitive pricing strategies, to boost export orders.

At present Sri Lanka significantly lags behind regional competitors like Vietnam and Bangladesh.

This issue was highlighted by foreign minister Ali Sabry, who pointed out the vast difference in export earnings.

While Vietnam boasts exports of USD 370 billion and Bangladesh at USD 60 billion, Sri Lanka struggles with a mere USD 12-14 billion

Recognizing this challenge, President Ranil Wickremesinghe embarked on a long-term program to establish FTAs with Asian countries.

By unlocking new markets and empowering the export economy, this initiative aims to revitalize Sri Lanka’s economic growth and build a more resilient future”, the minister explained.

Sri Lanka’s economy is set for a significant boost thanks to a recently signed free trade agreement with Thailand and on-going negotiations with other major economies. 

This agreement, along with technical assistance from Thailand, is expected to attract substantial investments in key sectors like fisheries, tourism, agriculture, and renewable energy.

By the end of 2024, Sri Lanka aims to finalize free trade agreements with India, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. 

These agreements have the potential to significantly expand market access for Sri Lankan businesses and attract even more foreign investment.

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