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Sri Lanka exports down 8.2-pct in August 2020; UK, Italy, China up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports fell 8.2 percent to 947.7 million US dollars in August 2020, from 1,033.2 million a year earlier, with apparel and tea down, but coconut based products and rubber gloves up, the state export promotion office said.

Exports to the US, the top buyer of Sri Lankan goods had fallen 11.2 percent to 248.6 million US dollars, but exports to the UK had grown 8.69 percent to 90.76 million US dollars.

Exports to India, the third largest buyer this year, were down 10 percent to 57 million US dollars.

Export to Germany was flat at 58.48 million US dollars, Italy was up 5.1 percent to 47 million US dollars and China was up 34 percent to 24 million US dollars.

Exports to Japan were up 11 percent to 17.5 million US dollars.

Export Development Board Chairman Prabath Subasinghe said Sri Lanka had recorded almost a billion dollars of exports for the third month, despite the impact of Coronavirus in Europe.

Europe and America have low import duties and therefore high living standards as domestic business cannot exploit consumers and hiding behind tariff barriers, and are also creating jobs in countries like Sri Lanka.

Whilst appreciating that the US and the EU are the largest markets, we need to now create a significant export market in Asia including China,” EDB Chief Subasinghe said in a statement.

“The China FTA (Free Trade Agreement) will certainly help in this regard. Export product diversification must simultaneously happen so that we can create more billion-dollar industries for Sri Lanka.”

Exports up to August were down 19 percent to 6.4 billion US dollars.

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Estimaed services exports, involving ICT, construction, financial services and logistics were estimated at 2.22 billion US dollars, down 13.95 from 2.58 billion last year. (Colombo/Sept12/2020 – Corrected August export change percentage)