Expo 2012 launched amidst aplomb with 1300 foreign investors, buyers
The much awaited Expo 2012 was launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with much aplomb with 1300 foreign investors buyers from across the globe in attendance. The event was preceded by President Rajapaksa, Industries and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Deputy Minister Jayaratne Herath and Sri Lanka Export Development Board Chairman Janaka Ratnayake lighting the floating lamps.
The time-honoured tradition not only declared the exhibition open but also symbolized the illumination of the predominant futuristic role that exports were to play in the nation’s economic growth amidst a ballooning trade deficit for the year of US 12 billion and in the country’s race for a US$ 20 billion export revenue target by 2025.
Minister Bathiudeen addressing the gathering said: "This is the first time, that an international event of this magnitude, is being held in Sri Lanka after more than 15 years’ lapse. Despite, the World Trade Organisation forecasting, only 5.8 percent world export growth for 2011, Sri Lanka’s export sector showed strong resilience, by registering a highly commendable growth rate of 22.37 percent, in comparison to 2010.
I say ‘highly commendable’ since this growth rate has been achieved also, despite a looming global economic downturn. The year 2011 saw export earnings, reaching US$ 10.4 billion, thereby surpassing the previously envisioned export target, of US$ 9.1 billion for the same year. I am very happy to state, that the export sector of Sri Lanka, makes up 17 percent of Sri Lanka’s GDP. We have now set an ambitious target of, US $ 20 Billion export revenue by 2020, lending sustainable support to doubling of our per capita income, as envisioned under the Mahinda Chinthana policy framework. The positive performance achieved, by the export sector in 2011, was led by industrial and agricultural sectors. Agricultural exports, which accounted for 23% of the total export earnings, grew by 11% while industrial exports, which accounted for 75% of the total export earnings, grew by 27%. The mega event launched today, focuses on exports, investment promotion and tourism, and thereby expected to catalyze Sri Lanka’s international trade outreach successfully, in its new resurgence. I am glad to inform you, that 350 Sri Lankan exhibitors, from over 20 different product sectors, are showcasing their portfolios today.
Stressing the importance of introducing the SME sector, Minister Bathiudeen said: "The small and medium scale entrepreneurs, who are the back-bone of our national economy, too, are taking part in this show for the first time. Their products are exhibited through, 60 SME display stalls, specially setup for them. I am pleased to say that this is the first time, that Sri Lanka’s SME sector is being assimilated, to the global export supply chain, in this manner thereby serving our long term national objective, of integrating this sector, to promising international markets.. All these factors assure me, that the crucial proof of the international buyer confidence, on Sri Lanka continues to grow unabated, despite a climate of global economic downturn. It is also clear testimony to the emergence of Sri Lanka branding in the global marketplace."
- Ministry of Industry & Commerce
- Ministry of External Affairs
- Ministry of Economic Development
- Ministry of Plantation Industries
- Sri Lanka Export Development Board
- Department of Commerce
- Board of Investment
- Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
- National Gem & Jewellery Authority
- Sri Lanka Export Credit Insurance Corporation
- Sri Lanka Ports Authority
- Department of Export Agriculture
- Sri Lanka Tea Board
- Coconut Development Authority
- National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka
- National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka
- Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
- Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Srilanka