Sri Lanka should negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Turkey, according to a leading figure in Sri Lanka’s export industry.
“Turkey is another of those Asian giants which sits on the middle. One side is Europe, other is Asia. They identify themselves more with Asia than Europe, and a trade agreement with Turkey will certainly benefit immensely,” Sri Lanka Tea Exporters Association Chairman Rohan Fernando said. He cautioned for proper negotiation and enforcement of FTAs, since many non-tariff barriers exist.
In 2014, Turkey was the second biggest tea market for Sri Lanka in terms of receipts, accounting for 12.8 percent of the Rs. 1.68 billion Ceylon Tea exports. It was the largest in terms of volumes with 44.74 million kilogrammes of tea exports.
This January, Turkey overtook Russia as the single largest export market for revenue as well.
The total trade between the countries was US$311 million in 2014, with the balance of trade in favour of Sri Lanka.
Garments, rubber products and coir-based products formed the other major sectors in Sri Lanka’s exports to Turkey, while imports were mainly in woven fabric, machinery and other equipment. (CW)