Sri Lanka exporters urged to diversify as Western demand wanes

Apr 21, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters should reduce reliance on traditional Western markets where demand will decline, and diversify into booming Asian economies, Asian Development Bank officials said. While exports are recovering after being hit by global recession last year, reduced consumption in key US and European markets are likely to dampen the recovery unless alternatives are found, the ADB’s Sri Lanka country director Richard Vokes said.

“The recovery in the US and Europe is important for Sri Lanka as they remain important markets,” Vokes told a news conference held to unveil the ADB’s Asian development outlook for 2010.

“But in future it is unlikely the US and Europe to some extent will provide as much demand for exports from countries like Sri Lanka.

“Consumers in the US are rediscovering savings, which means they have less money to spend on consumption. Then they will not import as many goods from overseas,” said Vokes.

“That will have a knock-on effect (on Sri Lanka’s exports). You need find alternatives and be less reliant on the export-led sector and on developed markets.”

Sri Lanka’s exports fell last year as demand from key markets in the United States and Eu