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Balancing Exports

Sep 3, 2011 2:55:13 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Arjuna Herath and Ms. Coralie Pietersz

The theme at this year’s Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka’s (ICASL’s) annual conference is “Quest for Balance.”
National Conference Technical Committee Chairman Ms. Coralie Pietersz speaking to reporters on Tuesday said that striking the right balance, as will be enunciated at this year’s conference will encapsulate a wide range of subjects and will not be confined only to profits.
It will also include the planet, environment, people, work and not least one’s own personal life. IFRS “reporting standards” which will be mandatory from next year will also be spoken and discussed at the conference.
During question time this reporter asked the head-table what about striking the right balance as far as the island’s export sector was concerned, which was skewed; with over 50% of Sri Lanka’s exports going to the West and a mere 6% to the growing economies of India and China?
National Conference Chairman Arjuna Herath in reply said that there is a session in the conference devoted to the economy where this matter would be taken up
ICASL President Sujeewa Mudalige added that there were a host of issues that acted as a stumbling block towards increasing exports to the growing economies of India and China. Among those was the non implementation of the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India.
He also said that by the year end India was expected to sign a free trade agreement with ASEAN that would lead to an open skies arrangement (generally such an arrangement includes unrestricted landing rights) between India and the ASEAN nations (see also The Sunday Leader’s last week’s business pages). That arrangement would have an impact on Sri Lanka, said Mudalige.
When asked whether Sri Lanka has an open skies agreement with India, he said that that was not quite the case.
“Even tourism is skewed,” said Mudalige. According to unconfirmed reports, in the first seven months of the year Maldives had 80,000* Chinese tourists, whereas Sri Lanka had only 10,000; he said.
Meanwhile a galaxy of speakers both local and foreign will expostulate on various topics at this year’s conference which will be held from October 20-22.
Participation will be restricted to 1,000 due to problems of accommodation, he said.
The web page in this regard was also inaugurated at this occasion.
* A report quoting “Haveeeru” said that that number was 103,734