From left: Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister for Tourism and Sports Navin Dissananayake, Italian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Fabrizio Arpea, SLTPB Chairman and the Commissioner General for Sri Lanka at Expo 2015 Rohantha Athukorala and EDB Chairman Bandual Egodage at the Expo Milano launch event in Colombo on 26 March
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The Government of Sri Lanka is making arrangements to participate at the universal exposition, ‘Expo Milano 2015’, an event organised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce with the cooperation of the Italian Embassy in Sri Lanka.
Expo Milano 2015 will be held from 1 May to 31 October 2015, at the World Avenue and Biodiversity Park in Milan, Italy.
“This global event will bring 140 countries and 20 million visitors to the city of Milan over a period of six months. Expo Milano 2015 is the largest worldwide event ever to be organised to unite countries, institutions, companies and citizens around the world. The EU as a trading region is very significant to Sri Lanka being the number one export market accounting for 32% of total exports of which the UK accounts for followed by Italy 18%, Germany 14%, Belgium 9%, France 7% and the Netherlands 7%,” said EDB Chairman and CEO Bandula Egodage.
“At a time the Government of Sri Lanka is preparing to request for EU assistance through the GSP+ and the removal of a ban imposed by the EU on Sri Lanka’s fishery exports, these openings and inroads will pave the way for strengthening existing relationships and establishing dealings with the international business community,” he added.
Sri Lanka, through EDB, has maintained a continuous presence in trade promotional activities in the EU through Sri Lankan pavilions at the ANUGA International Food Fair - Germany, SIAL - France, IPM Essen - Germany, IFEAT - Italy, Interzoo - Germany, Alimentaria Barcelona - Spain, World Seafood Expo - Belgium, etc. Business ties with the EU are further promoted by EDB through the organisation of inward and outward trade delegations to and from the EU.
At the Expo Milano, the EDB will endeavour to give a promise to the world in promoting Sri Lanka as the ethical sourcing capital of the world. Sri Lanka has gained credibility by not employing child labour and forced labour. The manufacturing units are free of sweat shops. The country gives pride of place to principles of fair trade. The benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon, such as serving as a food preservative and medicinal spice used in the treatment of high blood sugar and many other medical ailments, will be communicated directly to the millions of visitors expected at the Expo Milano.
Ceylon Cinnamon faces competition from low-quality cassava supplied by other Asian countries. Sri Lankan exports to the EU region from 2012 to 2013 have recorded a growth of 4.13% and that of 2013 to 2014 is 6.43%. It is expected that a targeted 20 million visitors at Expo Milano 2015 will underscore the excellence and uniqueness of Sri Lankan products, resulting in the creation of higher demand thereby expecting a growth in Sri Lankan exports by 8%-10% commencing in 2016 particularly from the EU region and a substantial growth from other countries as well.
Expo Milano 2015 will elevate the Sri Lanka-EU Strategic partnership of cooperation and create a more favourable environment for expansion of Sri Lankan-EU economic and trade cooperation.
The Cabinet has granted approval for organising this event in view of the benefits that will flow into the country for promoting trade and building the image of the country, particularly in the European Union. ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ is the core theme of Expo Milano 2015.
There are nine clusters spread over a total area of 36,650 square meters.
Sri Lanka’s participation is a joint effort of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the National Gem and Jewellery Authority, the National Crafts Council, the Department of Commerce and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) together with Sri Lanka Tourism.