Regional Consultations as part of the design of Sri Lanka’s National Export Strategy (NES) took place in Galle yesterday.
The NES is being developed as a comprehensive and carefully structured five-year strategy aimed at increasing exports and generating enhanced revenue for Sri Lanka’s SMEs and exporters.
The National Export Strategy will focus on the development and expansion of key leading and emerging priority export sectors. The focus on some of these sectors will help to invigorate rural economies and create many new employment opportunities. This is part of the Sri Lankan governments’ drive to achieve a target of US$20 billion in exports revenue by 2020.
The NES priority sectors have been selected to ensure a balanced export expansion from visionary, emerging and mature sectors. In line with the objectives of the NES for an innovative and diversified export sector, the national stakeholders, using quantitative and qualitative information, have selected the following industries: IT-BPM, spices and concentrates, wellness tourism, processed food and beverages, boat-building, and electrical and electronic machinery.
In addition, the NES will ensure that all export sectors including the mature sectors will benefit from the strengthening of trade support functions. Through wide public-private consultations, the following trade support functions (TSF) were shortlisted to achieve the NES vision and strategic objectives; National quality infrastructure; Innovation and R&D, and Logistics. These trade support functions will aim at improving the overall competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s export sector.
Following the validation of the NES strategic orientations by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM), individual sector and functional strategy teams have been established. Consultative meetings for the National Export Strategy were held in July 2017. Regional consultations will take place within September 2017 in many provinces as part of the formulation process of the National Export Strategy.
Key regional consultations took place in Galle to focus on the wellness tourism, spices and concentrates and boat building sectors. These regional consultations are taking place to ensure that regional requirements and specificities are fully integrated in strategic decision making. A special session also took place on the trade information function to discuss options to improve access of SMEs to relevant and up to date market information. The event held in Galle also featured close consultations of public and private sector representatives from the Southern Province.
Input from local stakeholders is important to have a National Export Strategy that takes into account local challenges and opportunities. This will assist in creating vital business linkages between local entrepreneurs and businesses with their counterparts in other provinces of the Island and counterparts overseas. As an important city along Sri Lanka’s coastal belt with an already vibrant local tourism industry, the NES will consider the economic potential that development of the wellness tourism and boat-building sectors will bring to the local economy. The developments of these sectors will contribute to employment creation and local prosperity. Employment creation as a result of NES focus on these sectors will not be only in the priority sectors, but also in sectors that are ancillary to them. Taking into consideration concerns of local stakeholders in Galle was important to ensure that the National Export Strategy is truly national in its focus.
The inclusively designed NES will represent the ambitions of public and private sector stakeholders for an empowered Sri Lankan export sector. In line with the government’s mandate to provide equal opportunity for all, these sector specific regional consultations will help to develop policies and regulations that are truly national.
These consultative meetings were preceded by the first NES consultations which took place in April 2017 under the auspices of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, where a strategic vision for Sri Lanka’s export growth was agreed upon.
The National Export Strategy (NES) for Sri Lanka is being designed by the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), in close consultation with key public sector institutions and private sector associations and chambers, as well as exporters and SMEs. Technical Assistance in support of this is being extended by the International Trade Centre (ITC) as part of their ‘EU-Sri Lanka Trade Related Assistance’ project funded by the European Union.