Lankan exporters should tap Central, Eastern European markets - EDB | Daily News

Lankan exporters should tap Central, Eastern European markets - EDB

Chairman EDB,  Prabash Subasinghe
Chairman EDB, Prabash Subasinghe

Sri Lankan exporters should expand their market access in the European Union (EU) to get the maximum benefits of the GSP+ concessions.

Chairman, Export Development Board (EDB), Prabash Subasinghe said at a webinar on GSP+ for Enhanced Market Access organized by the International Trade Center in collaboration with the Department of Commerce recently that local exports should move and capitalize the markets in Central and Eastern Europe since new business opportunities are showing a growth in those areas.

Whilst doing so it is also important to continue consolidating the position of Sri Lanka in Western Europe. Equally importance should be given by the local exporters for capitalizing the high quality and strong ethical practices that the country is world renowned for to attract more importers from the EU.

To enhance exports from Sri Lanka using GSP+ Tariff concessions, it is crucial to raise awareness among Sri Lankan exporters as well as in the EU that the products can be imported from Sri Lanka duty free.

It is also important to use opportunities and maximize the opportunities to diversify the export basket and use GSP+ plus as a tool for diversification. “As a government entity we can only create an environment for diversification,” he said. Thus the local businesses as well as the EU should focus on diversifying the exports to get the fullest advantage of GSP+ which is only there for another three years.

“One of the reasons why we haven’t been able to maximize GSP+ is due to the lack of value additions. Increasing value additions is a must for Sri Lankan exports and we have been working closely with local businesses and other relevant authorities for this,” he said.

Subasinghe emphasized that further value additions in Aluminum, Tobacco, Electric and Electronic products should be looked at. He also invited the EU to come and invest in Sri Lanka and use GSP+ plus as a tool not only to support Sri Lanka in building exports back to the EU but also to diversify the supply.

The EU is the single largest trading market of Sri Lanka where 30% of the total exports are shipped from the country including apparel, tyre, tea, rubber.

In 2019 exports to the EU had been increased up to 3.6 billion dollars which marked a rapid development after regaining the GSP+ tariff concession is 2017. More than 7,000 products are eligible to the Sri Lanka – EU GSP+ concession creating a cost of advantages to the European importers when importing from Sri Lanka.