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Sri Lanka awards to recognize top exporters

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is recognizing top exporters a President Export Awards today after a lapse of four years, which is aimed at helping a goal of reaching 50 billion US dollars, officials said.

Indira Malwatte, Chairperson of EDB said awards would be given on 27 categories, including Sri Lanka Exporter of the Year, Highest Net Foreign Exchange Earner, Best Emerging Exporter and Most Market Diversified Exporter.

There will also be awards in the services categories, including in construction and information technology, moving beyond the traditional awards in services, she said.

State Minister for International Trade, Sujeewa Senasinghe said Sri Lanka’s exports had fallen as a share of world exports over the last 10 years and the new administration wanted to boost exports to 30 billion US dollars by 2019 and 50 billion dollar by 2015.

He said Sri Lanka’s rupee was under pressure with imports of luxury goods and exports would help improve the economy.

Analysts however had however said it was money printing by the central bank to finance the budget deficit and low interest rates that had created a credit boom that was creating currency pressure.

Senasinghe said he hoped to encourage foreign investors to come in and partner with Sri Lankan firms so that technology would be improved.

"With the help of the Board of Investment we want to make it easier for exporters to tie up with foreign investors to get new technology and market knowledge," he said.

He said Sri Lanka wanted to see more high value added products reaching up to 80 percent rather than low value added goods.

"At one time we got industries with 20 to 30 percent value addition. Now we have industries of 60 percent value addition. In the future we want to go for 80 percent."

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Minister Senasinghe said during a recent visit to Korea he was told that they first imported a car from the US or Japan and reverse engineered it to learn how to build a car.

His comments come East Asia which have free trade and low or negligible import duties have been used by investors to build global supply chains, where production of a product is now spread across several countries and final assembly is made in yet another country.

Though the mathematical percentage of value addition is low in each country, the large volumes using capital intensive production in many cases have given better paying jobs and large total value creation.

Creating free trading conditions allowing investors from the West and Japan to innovate and build global supply chains have pushed up gross export volumes to several times of gross domestic product in many East Asian countries. (Colombo/Dec16/2015)

 

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