The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels promoted exports of fair trade and organic products from Sri Lanka during the Fair Trade Week in Belgium, organised by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Fair Trade Belgium, Belgium Fair Trade Federation (BFTF), and the Trade Development Centre (TDC) in October 2019.
As part of the program of Fair Trade Week in Belgium, the Embassy conducted an interactive promotional event between the importers in Belgium and a small group of exporters from Sri Lanka. The event provided an opportunity for the Sri Lankan companies to interact with potential buyers of fair trade and organic products. Inaugurating the event Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Belgium Grace Asirwatham said that the fair trade industry in Sri Lanka is being further developed with the view to export diversified fair trade products to the world market. The Ambassador urged the Belgian buyers to experience the high quality products from Sri Lanka under the GSP Plus preferential system.
The Embassy also participated in several programs organised by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office during Fair Trade Week in Belgium which included an annual Fair Trade Breakfast Meeting at the European Parliament, where over 150 invitees, including members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and stakeholders of the fair trade and organic industry gathered for promotion of fair trade within the European Union. The breakfast session was hosted by EU International Trade Committee Chair MEP Bernd Lange. Lange said in his remarks that EU trade policy should contribute to the advancement of sustainable development goals worldwide and in that connection fair trade was an interesting tool to achieve those goals. Ambassador Asirwatham was also given an opportunity to share her views on developing the fair trade industry in Sri Lanka to increase exports of fair trade products to the European region.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka together with the relevant institutions in Sri Lanka was able to initiate action to seek cooperation to develop the fair trade industry in Sri Lanka through a bilateral arrangement between Sri Lanka and Fair Trade Advocacy and other Fair Trade networks in Belgium, which is expected to be finalised in the near future.