Trading with the EU
During his recent meeting with the Head of the Delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives from the European Commission, Bernard Savage, the Sri Lanka Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, envisioned a better trade relationship with the European Union (EU) as the bilateral trade volume closed at $5bn.
According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, there is an increasing trend in trade and the balance of trade between the two parties has been in favor of Sri Lanka during the last nine years. In 2012, however, the total trade between Sri Lanka and EU was at $4,946.18 million. Sri Lanka’s major export items to EU are apparel, diamonds, tea, and rubber products.
Furthermore, EU is also one of the most diversified investor in Sri Lanka, with leading European companies operating in almost all sectors, namely FMCG, higher education, apparel, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, technology, and even in strategic development projects. EU multinationals such as Unilever and British American Tobacco are now part of the Sri Lankan lifestyle with their presence in the country for over a decade.
The leading EU members with investments in Sri Lanka are UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France and Sweden while specific investment segments include hosiery, knitwear, surf sails, electronic products, light engineering, diamond processing, tourism and recreational products. According to the European Union, more than $148 million has been assigned for Sri Lanka under the 2007-2013 Development Cooperation Instrument.