Sri Lanka fish exports face slowdown in Western markets

Dec 08, 2011 (LBO) – Fish exports from Sri Lanka, which is trying to make the industry a key foreign exchange earner, are being affected by slowing demand in key Western markets, a top export promotion official said. But demand is expected to bounce back, said Janaka Ratnayaka, chairman of the Export Development Board (EDB).

Fisheries exports had been growing strongly as production increased after the end of the 30-year ethnic war in 2009 and increasing demand from key markets like the European Union, Japan and the United States.

“Now there’s a slight negative impact due to the problems faced by our markets especially in Europe and the United States which are having problems due to the sovereign debt crisis,” Ratnayaka said.

“These are the largest markets for our fisheries products. We hope the set back is temporary and that demand will improve.

“We faced challenges like this previously like many years ago when the quota system for garments exports ended and the GSP Plus (duty free trade deal) withdrawal by the EU two years ago,” he said.

“We thought our export industry would face a severe crisis but it did not happen.

“Even after the removal of GSP Plus the industry managed to bounce