The Sunday Leader

Exports Down By 12% In Two Months

By Raisa Wickrematunge

There has been a 12% drop in exports in two months alone, causing a significant roadblock to achieving targets set out in the Mahinda Chinthana, the Export Development Board (EDB) confirmed, Executive Director EDB, Dr Yousuf Marikkar said. The drop, which he said was ‘a little bit alarming,’ was due to various factors, many of which were out of the EDB’s control.

The international market was going through a period of recession all over the world, with the European Union being particularly hit due to a period of recession. This was a major reason for the dramatic drop in exports in Sri Lanka, Marikkar said. In fact, he added, Sri Lanka was not as badly hit as other regions in terms of being adversely affected economically.

Stiff competition was another factor, Marikkar said adding, that the effects of losing the GSP Plus trade concession still did have an impact on exports last year, and had made an impact on 2011 export figures as well.

Marikkar said that Minister of Commerce and Industries, Rishard Bathiudeen was already meeting with apparel exporters and small and medium enterprises to assess the situation, and would be taking ‘necessary action’ to try and boost exports.

The apparel sector was one of the worst affected, with a general drop in exports in that segment, Marikkar said. Some segments of the fisheries industry had also suffered a slight decline in certain segments, and the gem and jewellery segment as well had been affected, though not too much, Marikkar said.

However, the Executive Director EDB added that it was too early to predict how much this would affect total exports, as there was often a boost in exports from around September to October.

“I have conveyed the current situation to the staff at the EDB. We are going to solve the situation by determining why there has been a decline in exports and decide what we can do to improve the situation,” Marikkar said. This would be facilitated by a thorough study on the current economic situation and the many variables, which affected it. The Ministry Secretary of Commerce and Industry was working on resolving this situation as well, he added.

The drop would set back Sri Lanka as they were working towards specific targets as set out in the Mahinda Chinthana, Marikkar said, adding that the first target set was to reach exports of at least USD 15 billion by the year 2015. Eventually, the EDB had a goal of reaching USD 20 billion by 2020, again a target, which had been set by the Mahinda Chinthana.

Exports for the year 2012 amounted to USD 10 billion Marikkar said adding, that despite the drop, the EDB believed it would be possible to reach a target of USD 12 billion by the end of the year, and that countries such as Myanmar and Vietnam, had boosted their exports ten or twelvefold.

External factors such as political incidents and instances relating to good governance or international politics could also have an effect on exports. These were factors which were beyond the control of the EDB, Marikkar explained.
He said he did not believe the recently passed UN resolution against Sri Lanka had had an impact on exports in the short run. However, he did not discount the possibility that the resolution could affect Sri Lanka economically in the long run. At the moment, however, it was not a serious issue, which would negatively impact the export market, Marikkar said.

However, there had been recent external factors, which had adversely impacted the export industry. One such incident was the trade embargo imposed on Iran, which had seriously affected the tea sector in terms of exports.
In addition, other variables relating to local producers, farmers and exporters, all fell under the provenance of the State and the issues they faced often fell beyond the EDB’s purview, Marikkar said.

3 Comments for “Exports Down By 12% In Two Months”

  1. xfernando

    So, if there’s a drop in exports of 12%, how come the economy grew by 7% (as per Central Bank)? Anyone understand the logic? Please help… I’m lost.

  2. miomee


  3. sheiff

    I was searching the word Halal business in google. I got so may websites including from America & europe. only websit that I got in the world “ from Sri Lanka.

    by this website what is the message you are trying to give to the world. products that being produced in sri lanka is Haram. even campbell products in USA are halal certified.

    Will our export grow. remember 13 million sinhales living upto Katunayaka Airport. now entire world is encroached by globalization. we can not live in isolate manner without engaging rest of the world.

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