With analysts calling for more focus on the diversification of Sri Lankan export products and market officials state that the country recently laid down five key aspects to be taken into consideration to improve export sector.

Chairman, Export Development Board (EDB), Bandula Egodage speaking at the 18th Annual General Meeting of the Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) recently highlighted the importance of value addition, market diversification, product diversification, high-tech, and research and development.

“We need to invest more on research and development. When we talk of high-tech it’s the percentage of research and development in the industry. So here research and development remains in the last row, so how do we expect high-techs products,” he said.

He pointed out that in terms of value addition, Sri Lanka’s main exports such as tea and fisheries and cinnamon had approximately 50% value. “Look at Seafood – Seafood value addition. Are we doing value addition when we change the taste of it? Please protect the seafood as it is. Maintain the freshness.

Make the branding different, the packaging,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chairman, EASL, Rohan Daluwatte said a buoyant export performance was imperative for sustainable growth momentum of the economy. He pointed out that the country’s exports as a share of GDP has declined from 33% in 2000 to 15% in 2014, although exports had increased in normal value terms. “Moreover, as the world exports of goods have risen, Sri Lanka’s share of global exports has reduced from 0.09% in 2000 to 0.06% in 2014,” he said.