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Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board confident of achieving export targets for the year

Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board confident of achieving export targets for the year

Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board (EDB) has reportedly said that despite the sharp decline in merchandise exports in April, it will not revise the US$ 10.75 billion target set for the year.
The EDB has stated that the new estimate have been arrived at after taking all aspects into consideration.
“As soon as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was announced as a pandemic, we knew the borders will be closed and it will have an adverse impact on our exports,” EDB Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe has told the Daily FT.
“In early April therefore, we decided to revise down the export forecast by a hefty 42% to US$ 10.75 billion for the year. The revised target means a drop in our export earnings of about US$ 7.75 billion compared to 2020 original forecast and also US$ 5.39 billion from the actual exports of last year,” he has noted.
Before Covid 19, the EDB set an export target of US$18.5 billion for 2020, up from US$ 16.14 billion achieved in 2019. As per the revised target EDB forecasts US$ 7.53 billion in merchandise exports and US$ 3.21 billion from service exports in 2020.
In April Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports plunged by 65% to US$ 277.4 million, a historical decrease largely caused by the impact of shutting down factories due to the Covid 19 pandemic. In the first four months export earnings fell by 26% to US$ 2,853 million from the corresponding period of last year.
According to Subasinghe, there was no need to revise the target again unless the exports continue to decline in May and June as well.
“The new target for the year was arrived at after considering all aspects of supply and demand, as the COVID-19 pandemic affects both sides. We are hopeful that export performance of May and June will be much better. If at all the downward trend continues, we will revise the target after first half of the year is over,” he has said.
Subasinghe has also expressed confidence that exports will be the first to recover, as tourism and worker remittances will take time to bounce back in the economic revival post COVID-19.
The EDB Chief has further noted that agri-food, tea, coconut, seafood as well as value added fruit and vegetable exports will see an increased demand in the immediate future.
He has noted that the government of Sri Lanka is already assessing the land and crop availability to explore export opportunities.
Subasinghe has added that the country’s apparel exports have already seen a strong revival in the sector with manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) where it has almost attracted US$ 1 billion in revenue.

OSL take:

The confidence expressed by Sri Lanka’s EDB on achieving the set export revenue targets for this year is undoubtedly a confidence boost on the positive economic activities in the country. The state assistance and relief extended to the exports sector has already gotten the manufacturing exports sector fully operational. Also, Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean, the ease of doing business environment in the and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country helps Sri Lanka’s exports to be competitive in the global market. Foreign businesses/investors exploring opportunities in Sri Lanka could look at investing or forming partnerships with the country’s manufacturing exports sector.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20200608/Z_2

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