ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s food and exporters will get help from Switzerland’s Import Promotion Program (SIPPO) to enter the European market, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.
Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board has been cleared by the cabinet to sign a deal with Swiss program.
Minister said, the cost of 100,000 Swiss francs for the research will be invested by the SIPPO to help exporters of readymade food, sustainable fish and seafood products as well as apparel to the Swiss market.
“In this economic crisis, one of the main ways to get out is promoting exports,” Gunawardhana said at the weekly cabinet decisions briefing on Tuesday.
“It is the only way to increase the foreign reserves, solve balance of payment issues and stabilize the currency
“In the past few decades, export promotion did not happen as we needed. Whatever the policy decisions that were made, the exports continued to remain at around 10 or 12 billion USD per year.”
Gunawardhana said, even in 2022 exports have barely exceeded one billion US dollars a month.
“In last July, exports were 1,128 million US dollars, in August it was 1,213 million US dollars, in September it was 1,093 million US dollars and in October it was 1,094 million US dollars,”
“Even if that continued, after 12 months we will have around 12-13 billion US dollars a year.”
Gunawardhana said, the cabinet discussed about opening foreign markets for local exporters and it was decided to fast track the free trade agreements with China, India and Singapore along with other countries.
A Finance Ministry report issued last week showed that free trade deal has earned the country 600 percent more exports than imports in 2022 in the first six months.
An Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement generated 140.4 billion US dollars of exports.
A Pakistan Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement had generated 13.1 billion rupees in exports.
An Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement had generated 56.5 billion US dollars of exports.
(Colombo/ Nov 29/2022)