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Friday February 23rd, 2024

German biz chamber in Sri Lanka launches simplified exporters guidelines for local exporters

ECONOMYNEXT – The German Industry and Commerce (AHK Sri Lanka) together with United National Industrial Development Organization launches a simplified export guideline for exporters in the agri-food sector with the focus of giving key information needed to access the European market answering frequently asked questions by the exporters.

Exporting to the European Union – A Practical Guide for Sri Lankan Suppliers of Agricultural Products was launched on March 01, 2021.

The guideline provides key information such as rules and regulations, logistic methods, in-demand fruits or vegetables, packaging and labelling, banned products, certification, intellectual property rights and the European consumers.

It also provides special emphasis on steps required to export to German and Dutch markets.

“The major reason for us as part of the German Chamber network to partner for the initiative is to support Sri Lankan exporters of agricultural products to obtain broader market access to the EU by providing key information on export and import regulations, required certifications, labelling and packaging regulations, logistic solutions, and distribution channels in the EU,” Andreas Hergenröther, Chief Delegate of AHK Sri Lanka said.

He also underlined that with a total volume of 717 million Euro Sri Lankan exports to Germany, Germany remains the third most important export market for Sri Lanka behind the US and the UK.

Europe has over 448 million consumers.

The main fresh products that are imported to EU are: Bananas, pineapples, oranges, table grapes, avocados, apples, easy peelers, watermelons, and melons.

veggies: tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, courgettes, mushrooms, lettuce, cauliflower

The country that imports the freshest fruits is Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Czechia.

Potential of Products coming from developing countries: Bananas, Citrus Fruit, Grapes, Avocados, Pineapples, Mangoes, Lemons, Limes, Mandarins, Oranges.

Produce from developing countries with promising growth: Avocado, Mango, Citrus Fruit, Soft Fruit including Blueberries, Raspberries, Waster Melons, Sweet Potatoes, Lemons and Limes.

Most interesting niche products: Plums, Chili, Peppers, Coconuts, Pomegranates, Passion fruit, Lychees, Rambutan, Pitahaya and Physalis.

“Sri Lankan Exporters have very special products of great potential and this practical guide for Sri Lanka suppliers of Agricultural Products, will help them to go through the process of exporting to the European Union, in a step-by-step process,” Jairo Andres Villamil-Diaz, International Technical Specialist from UNIDO highlighted.

“Moreover, with the help of UNIDO and AHK Sri Lanka, they can find further assistance to become very successful exporters and the visibility of Sri Lankan products will increase significantly in the international markets”.

According to the experts of the panel, fruits and vegetables from Sri Lanka such as dried and shelled lentils and leguminous vegetables, pineapple, papaya, bananas, lemons and avocados have high demand including others.

UNIDO or the AHK Sri Lanka webpage (

Reported by Mahadiya Hamza

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Sri Lankans may need to wait for Monetary Board meeting minutes despite new Act

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankans may have to wait more time to read the meeting minutes of the Central Bank’s Monetary Board, a top official said, despite a new act that has made the central bank to be more transparent and accountable for its decisions.

Many central banks including the United States’ Federal Reserve, India’s Reserve Bank, and Bank of Mexico release the minutes of their monetary policy meeting to ensure transparency.

The new Central Bank Act passed by the Parliament in line with the guidance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) includes measures for Sri Lanka’s central bank to be more transparent and accountable.

These measures include releasing the Monetary Policy Report every six months and the first such report was released on February 15.

However, the central bank has not taken a decision to release the minutes of the Monetary Board meetings on the monetary policy.

“Going forward, one day this could happen,” Chandranath Amarasekara, Assistant Governor at the Central Bank told reporters on Wednesday (21) at a media briefing.

“Right now, we have just started working on the new Central Bank Act. We are not there yet. There is no such decision on releasing minutes yet.”

The central bank in the past printed billions of rupees to keep the market interest rates artificially low and provide cheap funding for successive governments to propel a debt-driven economy.

It’s decision, however, led Sri Lanka into an unprecedented economic crisis in 2022 with sovereign debt default.

It also propped up the rupee currency artificially in the past to maintain a stable exchange rate at the expense of billions of US dollars. The move also contributed for the economic crisis and later the central bank was forced to allow over 60 percent depreciation in the rupee in March 2022.

However, none of the top central bank officials was held responsible for wrong decisions to hold interest rates artificially low with money printing and propping up the rupee. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

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Amid mass migration, Sri Lanka to recruit volunteers as English teachers

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka is planning to appoint foreign and expatriate volunteers to teach English for Sri Lanka students, the Ministry of Higher Education said, amid thousand of teachers migrating to other countries after the island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis.

Over five thousand teachers have left the country with the Education Ministry permission using the government’s circular of temporarily leaving state jobs while tens of thousands of teachers have left the country without informing the relevant authorities, Education Ministry officials say.

That had led to an acute teacher shortage in the country.

Suren Raghavan, the State Minister for Higher Education said the shortage has aggravated because most of the graduates who have an English degree become writers and join the private sector due to higher salary.

“They do not join government schools. This is a problem all over the country which is why we need to have an online system,” Raghavan told EconomyNext.

Separately he said on Thursday at a press conference that he had spoken to Canadian and Australian High Commissions to get the assistance of where their English teachers who have experience in teaching English as a second language in South Asia.

He also said that there is a number of teachers in the Unite Kingdom have shown interest in teaching English and they have experience in teaching in other Asian countries such as Burma and India while the teaching would be done free of charge.

The new move also comes at a time when the country’s English literacy rate is on the decline, according to the Minister.

President Ranil Wickramasinghe announced the English-for-all initiative three months ago with plans to improve English literacy at school and university level. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

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Sri Lanka tea production up 1.4-pct in Jan 2024, exports up 6.8-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tea production was up 1.4 percent to 18.73 million kilograms in January 2024, with high growns falling and low and mid growns rising, industry data shows.

High grown tea in January 2024 was 3.56 million kilograms, down from 3.36 million, medium growns were 2.6, up from 2.5 million kilograms and low growns were 12.56 million, up from 12.32 million kilograms last year.

Exports, including re-exports were up 6.88 percent to 18.76 million kilograms, industry data published by Ceylon Tea Brokers show.

Export earnings were reported at 102 million US dollars, up from 99.5 million dollars last year. The average FOB price was 5.45 US dollars a kilo down from 5.67 dollars last year.

Tea in bulk was 8.5 million kilograms valued at 12.79 billion rupees, tea in packets was 7.8 million kilograms valued at 13.1 billion rupees and tea in bags was 1.8 million kilos, valued at 5.06 billion rupees.

The top buyer was Iraq with 2.5 million kilos, up from 2.1 million last year followed by the UAE with 1.99 kilos, up from 1.86 million last year.

Russia bought 1.98 million kilos, down from 2.0 last year, Turkey bought 1.72 million kilos, from 2.3 million last year, while Iran bought 1.32 million, up from 614 million last year. (Colombo/Feb23/2024)

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