Sri Lanka urged to promote services exports to UK

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should promote more services exports to the United Kingdom as it seeks to retain preferential access to that market following Britain’s exit from the European Union, to which it now exports duty free, a new study said.

Under the GSP+ scheme, Sri Lanka gets a great deal of preferential market access to the European Union including the U.K., accoring to the study conducted by real estate consultancy Research Intelligence Unit (RIU), in association with the Sri Lankan High Commission in London.

“However, the advent of Brexit gives rise to a new set of concerns to Sri Lanka. Thus, preventive measures must be taken to secure and maintain the current preferential market access to the U.K,” it said.

The study on "what Brexit means for U.K.-Sri Lanka trade" said that the U.K is one of the island’s major trading partners with Sri Lankan apparel exports dominating the trade.

Sri Lanka exports nearly 3.0 billion US dollars worth of goods to the European Union and 29 percent of these exports are dominated by the U.K., amounting to about a billion dollars in 2018.

Despite services exports not benefiting through GSP+ concessions, the trade potential for the services sector is promising, RIU said.

“Efforts need to be explored to enhance trade between U.K. and Sri Lanka by promoting more services exports to this market,” it said.

“Sri Lanka looks forward to promoting ICT/BPM and Wellness Tourism to further promote Sri Lanka’s exports in the U.K. to secure the share and get the support of the Sri Lankan diaspora in the United Kingdom in such promotions.”

In a scenario of the U.K. leaving the EU with or without a trade deal, the main preoccupation of the Sri Lankan government will be at least to secure the existing market access opportunities, which Sri Lanka is currently enjoying under the EU-GSP+ Scheme, the study said.

The U.K. has said it will continue market access given under the EU-GSP+ Scheme when it leaves the EU after March 2019.
(COLOMBO, March 28, 2019-SB)

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