Minister of International Trade Malik Samarawickrama told Parliament that Sri Lanka needs to look at new markets as the traditional markets have not helped Sri Lankan exports grow.
As a result, the Minister said that Sri Lanka will look towards China, Singapore, Japan and Korea to improve Sri Lankan exports.
Sri Lanka is to sign Free Trade Agreements with China and Singapore and discussions on the deals are expected to be finalised this year.
Samarawickrama said that Sri Lanka will also sign a trade deal with Pakistan and an economic and technological agreement with India.
“This is the only way forward,” the Minister said as parliament discussed Sri Lanka’s exports.
Sri Lanka hopes its exports to Europe will improve once the country obtains the GSP plus trade concession from the EU.
The EU is to decide on Sri Lanka’s application for GSP by May 15.
The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market, accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports. The EU’s Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance, GSP+, is part of EU’s unilateral tariff preferences in favour of developing countries.
The GSP+ scheme is designed to help developing countries by granting full removal of tariffs on over 66% of tariff lines covering a very wide array of products including, for example, textiles and fisheries. (Colombo Gazette)