The Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) will conduct the second consultation for Sri Lanka’s National Export Strategy (NES) from today. Over 300 public and private sector representatives are expected to attend in order to chart the next export growth cycle of the country.
The consultative meetings for the second NES will be held from 12 July to 20 July. The main objective of the meeting will be to define roadmaps for expanding export and analyse performance of value chains for the NES focus sectors, market orientations, challenges and opportunities.
The TSF groups are also expected to identify the main challenges in the provision of quality and affordable trade support services to Sri Lanka exporters.
These consultations will be followed by regional discussions planned for September 2017 where national public and private sector representatives will confirm the strategic interventions that the NES should focus on for the next five years.
The development of this strategy is a central component of the ‘EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance: Increasing SMEs’ trade competitiveness in regional and EU markets’ project, implemented by the International Trade Centre and funded by the European Union.
During the first NES consultation in April, a strategic vision for Sri Lanka’s export growth was agreed upon.
The achievement of the vision ‘Sri Lanka – An export hub driven by innovation and investment’ is supported by four key strategic objectives guiding the entire NES design process:
1. To have a business-enabling, predictable and transparent policy and regulatory framework that supports exports.
2. To drive export diversification through innovation and the strengthening of emerging export sectors.
3. To strengthen Sri Lankan exporters’ market-entry and compliance capacities.
4. To become an efficient trade and logistics hub to facilitate exports.
The NES, with its five-year strategy implementation period, lays emphasis on diversification of exports through strengthening of emerging sectors. Bearing in mind different growth trends, NES focus sectors are ICT, wellness tourism, spice concentrates, boat building, processed food and beverages, and electronic and electrical machinery.
The focus sectors were identified based on quantitative and qualitative parameters derived from export potential assessments, conducted by the EDB and the BOI under the guidance of Harvard University, and further sector analysis by the Commonwealth Secretariat, McKinsey Co., the International Trade Centre and the World Bank.
In addition, the NES will ensure that all export sectors including the mature sectors will benefit from the strengthening of trade support functions. Through wide public-private consultations, the following trade support functions (TSF) were shortlisted to achieve the NES vision and strategic objectives; national quality infrastructure; innovation and R&D, and logistics. These trade support functions will aim at improving the overall competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s export sector.
Following the validation of the NES strategic orientations by the Cabinet Council on Economic Management, individual sector and functional strategy teams have been established. These teams are tasked with providing guidance and decision making for the elaboration of strategies for each sector and trade support function.