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Sri Lanka diplomats claim their efforts helping country regain lost export markets and win new buyers

ECONOMYNEXT – The government is claiming that its efforts to regain export income for Sri Lankan products are gaining ground and earnings are expected to rise as the country regains lost markets.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations in a press statement said measures taken by it with other key Government Economic Agencies and the private sector, has “helped in sustaining and regaining lost markets for traditional Sri Lankan exports while enabling new opportunities.”

Exports, it said, which accounted for US $ 277 Million in April 2020, “had increased to US $606 Million in May, and is expected to grow in the coming months, in line with the revised projections.”

These numbers are nowhere near last year’s as in March 2019 export earnings were over a US $ one billion and monthly averages well over $850 million according to the Department of Census and Statistics.

The Ministry statement quoted Additional Secretary Economic Affairs P.M. Amza, who had told a TV channel in an interview on 10 June 2020, as saying that “since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the Ministry’s ‘Economic Diplomacy Programme’ has been playing a pivotal catalytically important role, in partnership with Agencies such as the Export Development Board and the Tea Board, in facilitating Sri Lankan exporters to overcome the adverse impact of COVID 19.”

The Ministry noted that the proactive stance of the Ministry and Missions “abroad has seen the emergence of new market destinations as well as opportunity to regain the markets for Traditional Sri Lankan exports such as Tea, Rubber and fresh and processed food.”

The need for protective gear has also been a boon to Sri Lanka as the country has also been able to target new products and markets particularly for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and rubber based products such as face masks, protective gowns, rubber gloves and hand sanitizes.

At the request of the Joint Apparel Forum of Sri Lanka (JAAF), the Ministry together with the Sri Lankan Missions has also successfully coordinated sourcing raw materials for the production of PPEs, thus catering to the rising demand from many countries. 53 potential suppliers for specific raw materials were identified.

In the context of the post-COVID 19, the Ministry together with the EDB has additionally identified 15 potential sectors with a view to capture new markets and strengthen the demand in the existing markets the release said. (Colombo, June 11, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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