Trad­ing with the EU

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

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.

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