Sri Lanka can trade more with Asia: IMF official

July 1, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should expand trade links with Asia, especially with fast growing economies of India and China, at a time when consumption in industrialized nations is weak, an International Monetary Fund official said. Trade among East Asian nations have grown fast partly due to their integration with global supply chains where parts made in one country are put into final products in another International Monetary Fund’s resident representative Koshy Mathai said.

“Twenty percent of Sri Lanka’s exports go to the US, 39 percent go to the EU, basically 60 percent are going to two regions which are growing at an absolutely pathetic rate,” he told members of Ceylon Tea Trades Association.

“So if we are talking about driving our growth going forward, this is not going to be the source of that growth in future years.

“A grand total of 5.0 percent of our exports go to India. How about China? One percent goes to China.”

Sri Lanka had a vibrant trade with India’s so called ‘Coromandel coast’ as South India was known at the turn of the 19th century when the British came to the island.

After independence from British rule amd currency depreciation and exchange controls, trade controls were erected in Sout