Brexit dents Sri Lanka’s EU GSP Plus export gains

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s export growth to the European Union has slowed down in 2018 despite the reinstatement of GSP Plus trade concessions due to falling exports to the United Kingdom over Brexit uncertainties there, the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade has said.

GSP Plus trade concessions were reinstated to Sri Lanka in May 2017, but exports grew 7 percent that year, slowing down further to 5 percent in 2018 despite strong growth numbers to individual countries in the union. Around 60 percent of exports to the EU are apparels, which grew 4 percent in 2018.

"During 2017-2018, although exports to Germany increased by 13 percent, Italy by 9 percent, and Netherland by 16 percent, exports to the United Kingdom, a major export destination of Sri Lanka in the EU market, had dropped five percent, due to the depreciation of the sterling pound and consumer market uncertainty due to Brexit," the ministry said in its Progress Report 2018.

Sri Lankan export to the United Kingdom fell 5.15 percent from a year earlier to 1.03 billion US dollars in 2018.

Exports to Germany were up 13.73 percent to 538.4 million dollars, Italy was up 9 percent to 538.4 million dollars with Netherlands growing 16.7 percent to 220.4 million US dollars.

Sri Lankan goods to Belgium grew 3.63 percent to 346.6 million US dollars and France was up 4 percent to 190.11 million rupees.

Overall exports grew 2.47 percent to 11.4 billion US dollars.

Exports to the United States were the highest at 2.9 billion rupees, up 5.65 percent from a year earlier.

Exports to South Asia had grown 10.12 percent to 1.09 billion US dollars, and grew 11.3 percent from a year earlier to 767.6 million US dollars to India in 2018. (COLOMBO, 16 April 2019-SB)





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