Lanka scores crucial win in first push with easternmost NATO power

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

In yet another major success in its export diversification efforts, Sri Lanka is moving towards a considerable exports push with the easternmost NATO power in the world. Furthermore, this G20 economy has made Sri Lanka a ‘partner’ at the Izmir International Fair, the oldest trade show in Turkey, taking place for the 82nd time this year. “As of now, we have already enlisted a 20 member delegation for the forthcoming Izmir International Fair in Turkey. This delegation is still in its formulation process and this is not the final exhibitor number, which I believe could be much higher,” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing Iskender Okyay, the Turkish Ambassador to Sri Lanka on 29 July at the EDB premises in Colombo. Okyay was making a courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen, who met Okyay together with EDB Director General Sujata Weerakoone, EDB Executive Director Dr. Yousuf Maraikkar and other officials of the Department of Commerce. The Sri Lanka partnership upgrade by Turkey at the forthcoming Izmir International Fair to be held from 29 August to 2 September follows a similar upgrade for Sri Lanka by yet another G20 economy – China – on 15 March this year. “The trade balance is favouring Sri Lanka with huge six-fold increase over the recent past,” said Bathiudeen. “The EDB is planning a special Sri Lanka pavilion at Izmir. A Lankan team has visited Turkey in advance already and has completed its reconnaissance of the trade venue to set up the Lankan pavilion. I am pleased to note that apart from the export and trade delegation, there will be also be a Lankan cultural troupe taking part at this fair. Furthermore, we have already enlisted our rubber, tea and coir sectors that continuously display strong demand in Turkish market. All these arrangements are aimed at sending the biggest and best export promotional message to Turkey and the participating global market players,” added Bathiudeen. “Your keenness is fantastic!” voiced Okyay, and added: “This is exciting and very good. In fact, my embassy staff in Colombo and I shall give our fullest cooperation to the visiting Sri Lankan delegation. We are eagerly looking forward to your export showcase, especially since you are our partner country in this venture. Sri Lankan exporters can strongly benefit from this first-ever high level participation since there will be a strong presence of Russian as well as Central Asian buyers at this fair.” Turkey, which became the world’s fastest growing economy in 2010 and 2011, beating the global recession, is also the first NATO member to upgrade its exposition affinity with Sri Lanka to ‘expo partnership’ level. A G20 economy with a 70 million population/market, Turkey is the Eastern-most member in the powerful NATO bloc. Turkey’s Izmir is one of the five international candidate cities bidding for the World Expo 2020, the global exposition held once in five years (the last show being in Shanghai). According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, trade with Turkey has been on an increasing trend lately. The balance of trade between Sri Lanka and Turkey has been in favour of Sri Lanka during the last eight years, increasing six-fold from $ 14.7 million to $ 88.39 million by 2012, which shows that Sri Lanka will have a prominent role in the forthcoming Izmir Trade Show. The total trade turnover in 2005 which stood at $ 97.4 million almost doubled by 2012 to $ 190.57 million, registering an increase of 95.66% (compared to 2005). The Izmir International Fair, the 82nd edition to be held in 2013, is also one of the longest ongoing trade fairs in the world, and is not based on specific ‘themes’ for display of the products and therefore is considered as an open-products fair of international scale.