Sri Lanka economic forum to focus on export growth

June 05, 2013 (LBO) – An annual economic policy forum with the participation of businesses, academics and state officials this year will focus on strategies needed to boost the island’s flagging exports, its organizer, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said. Sri Lanka’s exports fell 18.2 percent to 726.7 million US dollars in January 2013 from a year earlier, with apparel exports falling 8.9 percent to 333.9 million US dollars, Central Bank data showed.

Tea exports were down a marginal 2.8 percent to 101.0 million US dollars, rubber products fell 19.8 percent to 62.8 million US dollars, food beverages and tobacco was down 40 percent to 12.4 million US dollars.

“The basket of merchandise exports from Sri Lanka as well as our exports markets has remained largely unchanged over the last few decades,” the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

“The foregoing situation and change in the global economic scenario, with Asia gaining ground over the West, require us to rethink our export strategy given the importance of exports to a small economy targeting to achieve sustained high economic growth in the future,

“Leading economists and key exporters have been invited to discuss and identify changes required to current strategy to r