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Exports grow by 41% to $ 5.1 b in 1H, Govt. to sustain growth

Aug 18, 2011 9:11:45 PM - www.ft.lk

The first half of 2011 has registered 40.9% exports growth compared to 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce quoting Export Development Board data said.

Export sector has shown positive signs of regaining its growth momentum achieved in the past. But we should be vigilant about uncertainties in the global financial market, especially in the developed markets.
To shield the export sector from external shocks it is important to adopt appropriate measures to address demand and supply side constraints which adversely affect the competitiveness of our export sector, says the latest Report on Export Sector Performance for the first half of 2011, released by the Export Development Board (EDB) of Sri Lanka.
Issued by the Policy and Planning Division of the EDB on 10 August, the report stresses that the exports, despite suffering in 2009, rebounded strongly in 2010.
 “The positive performance experienced by the sector improved further during the first half of 2011, by registering a commendable growth rate of 40.9% over the corresponding period of 2009” the report added.
Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, under whose Ministry that the EDB functions, identified in early July that Sri Lanka is now compelled to demonstrate much stronger export growth statistics than ever before in the face of its economic upswing and recession lessening global markets.
“The second crucial challenge is that any economic growth trend, however promising, cannot go on indefinitely. There should be concerted efforts by all stakeholders to sustain the growth specially in the context of both local and international economic cycles, and other vital factors such as global production process sharing, that may pose strong challenges to our current positive exports cycle”  Minister Bathiudeen stressed.
The Chairman of the Export Development Board Janaka Ratnayake also voices that Sri Lanka’s export industry is well poised to capitalise on the global recovery, and adds that Sri Lanka needs to reduce its dependency on EU and USA markets by finding new markets for the long run, thereby highlighting another challenge to long term exports upswing. 
Sri Lanka, for the first time in its international trades, has seen its monthly export earnings surpassing the US$ 1 billion mark in March this year. 
And according to the EDB, total export earnings of Sri Lanka during the first half of 2011 grew to a strong US $ 5106 Mn from US $ 3642 Mn over the corresponding period of 2009. “This encouraging performance contributed to achieve 56% of the overall export target of US $ 9098 for 2011, within a period of six months. During the first half of 2011 Industrial product exports grew (in comparison to 2010 first half) by a huge 49%, followed by Fisheries products (26.25%) and Agricultural Products (21.01%). Nearly 87% of the export earnings during the first half of 2011 were derived from ten product categories.
 Textile and Garments (42.3%) and Tea (13.7%) alone contributed to the total exports earnings of Sri Lanka. According to the EDB, the other categories are rubber based products (8.1%), Petrolium Products (4.9%), Gems and jewellery (4.7%), food and beverages (3.7%), electrical, electronic and machinery (2.9%), paper products (2.4%), spices (2.1%), fisheries products (2.1%) and others (13.1%).

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