The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) proposed to compliment the renewed efforts of Sri Lanka and the Philippines to strengthen bilateral trade between the two countries last week.

The total annual trade involving the two countries has remained around 35 to 40 million dollars with no significant improvement in trade levels in recent years which underlines the necessity to explore unrealized trade potentials.

In this context discussions held in the past between the Ambassador for the Philippines Vivencio T. Bandillo accredited to Sri Lanka and based in Dhaka, and the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishard Bathiudeen had proposed reactivation of the landmark 1980 trade agreement to develop bilateral trade in the context of trade opportunities for economic development.

Exports from Sri Lanka comprise mainly apparel which is around 46% of total exports. The other export items are Rubber Tyres, Gloves, Tea, Trailers, and Chemical derivatives, while the main import items from the Philippines are cereals which are around 29% of total imports followed by articles made of wood.

It has been noted that since the Philippines is a nation of wide spread islands, the country utilizes Twin-Hulled (Catamarans) extensively for inter-island shipping, comprising basic as well as luxury boats. Since Sri Lanka has adequate Boat Building technology and a good reputation related to the supply of boats, there is a good opportunity in this sector.
At a recent meeting, the Ambassador for the Philippines has had with the Secretary General of the NCE during his visit to Sri Lanka for the Independence Day celebrations, the Chamber had proposed participation of a delegation of member export companies of the Chamber at a suitable trade exhibition in the Philippines followed by Business to Business meetings with counterparts in the Philippines to identify products and services for the promotion of trade, particularly exports from Sri Lanka, related to the sectors where there are opportunities to expand trade. The Chamber proposes to organize this event in consultation with the relevant counterpart trade agencies and Chambers in the Philippines.

The Ambassador had endorsed the proposal of the Chamber and had agreed to extend his fullest cooperation and assistance for the purpose coordinated by the trade arm of the Philippines Embassy based in Dhaka and the Trade Consul for the Philippines in Sri Lanka.
Exporters and other businesses interested in joining the business delegation to the Philippine are requested to contact the Chamber.

Marketing Manager NCE – Erandi Perera, Secretary General of the NCE – M. Shiham Marikar with Ambassador for the Philippines Vivencio T. Bandillo and President Sri Lanka – Philippines Business Council Ravi De Silva