Conclusion of Sri Lanka Expo 2012
Sri Lanka Expo-2012, a mega trade, investment and tourism promotion initiative staged under the theme of “Partnering with the Hub of Asia” concluded successfully on 31st of March 2012 achieving all the set objectives of the event. Over the duration of the event, visitors were exposed to a well-crafted trade fair that offered innumerable opportunities for manufacturers and buyers to come together directly.
Overseas Visitor Participation
Exceeding the set target of 1000 foreign buyers, there were enthusiastic participation of 1385 international visitors including trade buyers, Ministerial Delegations, investors, Foreign employment companies and outbound tour operators from across the world. The event not only attracted visitors from our main markets such as USA & Europe, but from every corner of the world such as emerging markets like Cyprus, Russia, Brazil, Turkey to name a few. There were encouraging participation from Asia as 346 from China, 210 from India, 144 from Malaysia and 62 from Japan. The largest number of trade visitors, 244, was for the Diamond, gem & jewellery sector whereas 187 visitors were for the apparel sector. Tea sector and food & beverage sector attracted 162 and 117 trade visitors respectively.
Ministerial delegations from Republic of Maldives, Republic of Korea, State of Palestine, Bangladesh and a representative delegation from UAE have attended the event and successful meetings were organized with Hon. Ministers and relevant Institutions and Associations.
More than 50 Tour Operators representing 13 countries (Korea, Jordan, Oman, China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Philippines, Doha Qatar, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA ) visited the event which was an encouraging factor to boost the tourism industry in the country.
The Expo 2012 comprised a unique combination of an international exhibition, Symposium, Business Meetings, networking sessions, Seminars, cultural event and a Fashion Show.
There had been an overwhelming response from the export community representing from the largest to SME exporter. All the strategic sectors identified by EDB, are represented by the key players of these sectors. These key sectors include Apparel, Tea, Rubber, and Rubber Based Products, Gems, Diamond & Jewellery, Food & Other Beverages, Spices & Allied Products, Ceramic & Porcelain Products, Electrical Electronic Products and Footwear & Leather Products etc. There were 372 stalls, a tantalizing array of uniquely Sri Lankan exports spanned three broad sectors of Agriculture & Fisheries, Industrial Products and Services. Visitors to the event have had access to the best selection of Sri Lankan quality products & services under one roof.
The first two days of the exhibition were reserved exclusively for buyers to negotiate business with the exhibitors and place orders to buy our products and services and the last two days of the exhibition were open to the public. Over 10,000 locals have visited the Exhibition and experienced for themselves the comprehensive range of high quality products and services that Sri Lanka offer to the international market, and also gained exposure on various facets of an international event of this nature.
About two third of the participants at the event have already given their feed back to the EDB and we are yet to receive the feedback from other participants. From the response we have already received, companies were able to secure confirmed orders amounting to US$ 66,090 and orders under negotiation are US$ 12,110,315 whereas there were sales leads worth of US$ 14,830. There were inquiries worth of US$ 2,566,442 which would turn into business in the near future once the required follow -up is done.
There was a Pavilion of 52 stalls allocated specially to showcase the products from SMEs at the Event with an objective of providing them the exposure needed to enter into the main export stream. However, it is encouraging to note that the SME pavilion itself has obtained orders worth of US$ 15,645, sales leads worth of US$ 3830, inquiries worth of US$ 42,575 and orders under negotiation are US$ 230,315.
Comments by participants
Mr.Mahesh Amalean, Chairman of MAS Holdings and one the key stake holders of Sri Lanka Expo 2012 has expressed his views as “Expo 2012 is an extremely timely and an important event, especially at the point of time when the economy is beginning to develop as a result of a few years of peace.”
“Sri Lanka Expo 2012 provided an ideal opportunity to our craft persons; they were able to link with foreign buyers in obtaining orders an addition to the firsthand knowledge and experience gained by them. Therefore, it is suggested to organize this event annually as it provides a good platform to Sri Lankan craft sector to market their products” says the National Craft Council.
The Trade & Investment Symposium hosted by 12 international keynote speakers, covering salient topics of interest such as the advantages and facilitated process behind Sri Lanka's conducive trade and investment climate and the country's many facets as a tourist destination was greatly appreciated by the participants. The symposium which was held at Hilton, Colombo was attended by more than 350 participants from the business community.
Positive comments by speakers
Dr. Sandro Veronesi, Chairman, Clazedonia SpA, Italy, as the largest investor in Sri Lanka shared his very positive impressions regarding our country at this Symposium. He stated “ Sri Lanka is a small country with good potential.” “We did much more in Sri Lanka than we imagined because Sri Lankan people are willing to work. So there is still an opportunity for future growth” His concluding remarks was “ Invest in Sri Lanka”.
Mr. Michael Delaney, Assistant US Trade Representative for South & Central Asia has enlightened the audience on “Partnering with the Wonder of Asia; a view from the US”. Mr. Edward Clarence- Smith, UNIDO representative in his speech stressed the importance of following the green trends in their products manufactured for the export market. He stated “I had the pleasure to visit some Sri Lankan companies in the Apparel sector at Expo 2012 which have understood the message, and have positioned themselves to take full advantage of the market demand for green products.”
Ms. Jean- Maries Paugam , Deputy executive Director, ITC, Geneva stated “ The Expo 2012 illustrates the determination of the Sri Lankan Government to jumpstart and boost the economic growth and export performance of Sri Lanka”
Mr. Mark Harris, London Stock Exchange “We are very proud of having very fast trading system which was developed and provided by Sri Lanka. He further said “Sri Lanka is turning out top rated IT professionals which the country should be proud of. We will continue to invest in Sri Lanka and continue to become an active player in Sri Lanka.”
Dr. Adolf Peretti, Gemologist, GRS Gem Research Swisslab, AG, Switzerland in his presentation stated “ Sri Lankan Sapphire has been recognized as an international gem brand at international Auctions worldwide. Sri Lanka’s mining practices has been found as preserving nature and ethical practices.”
Other parallel events
Another significant event organized parallel to Expo 2012 at the BMICH was a Seminar on “US GSP Scheme” which was attended by more than 140 participants from the business community. Ms. Mara Burr, Deputy Assistant ,US Trade Representative for South & Central Asian Affairs, the key speaker at the Seminar stated that Duty Free treatment is applied for 3400 types of products from 129 developing countries including Sri Lanka.US imports from Sri Lanka in 2011 is US$ 2 bn of which US$ 135 Mn is under GSP concession which is 7% of the total imports to US and it is envisaged that this percentage could be further increased if the export community make use of this facility in a productive way.
The cultural event performed by veteran artists Ravibandu Vidyapathy and Chandana Wickramasinghe at Nelum Pokuna , Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, depicted the multicultural talents of Sri Lanka . The foreign visitors were enchanted by the performance and for them it was a great experience of Sri Lankan culture & hospitality.
The glamorous fashion show staged at the BMICH as a parallel event to Expo 2012, showcased the best of Apparel & craft capabilities of Sri Lanka to the international audience. Show began with Sri Lanka’s globally renowned Apparel Industry on the ramp witnessing Sri Lanka apparel’s creativity and cutting-edge technology as MAS, Brandix, Hirdaramani and more take on the Expo 2012. Sri Lanka’s rich craft Sector came alive on the ramp representing talents of many communities in Sri Lanka which showcased our culture and aesthetics to the global audience.
An MOU to promote trade between Korea & Sri Lanka was signed between the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and Korea Importers Association on the 28th, the first day of the event.
H.E. Jeong Marn Ki , Deputy Minister for Planning & Coordination, Ministry of Knowledge Economy , Korea stated at one of the Ministerial meetings that we should step further and have a bilateral agreement between the two countries in order to facilitate trade.
All India Rubber Association interested in investment opportunities and joint ventures in Sri Lanka. At the meeting held with the Hon. Minister of Investment & Trade , the Association requested to provide them with the facilities such as land in order for them to proceed.
A MOU between the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Chamber of Commerce & Industries of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) was signed in the presence of the Hon. Minister of Industry & Commerce to further strengthen trade and investment.
Comments by foreign journalists
Some journalists from Croatia & UK visited Factories to obtain first hand information & many of them visited related stalls and interviewed the companies . Few comments quoted after the event are as follows
“I must say, I was very impressed by the EDB arrangements and I say this based on the fact that I do at least 10 of these projects It was the best media centre I’ve used in several years “ Kelvin King- Soft drinks International
“In general this second Expo is well organised especially for journalists “Gehard H Breuer-International Fruit world
“I thought the Expo was very good and professionally managed It deserves to generate a great deal of overseas earnings . I never had expected to meet the produce people in such numbers” John Sacks -Fruit world International
All the journalists have assured of giving publicity in their respective magazines for the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 which will be of immense value in positioning Sri Lanka in the global map as the “Hub of Asia”
Sri Lanka Expo 2012 was indeed an exciting event that provided a forum for buyers to unlock the country’s potential in trade, investment and tourism and to achieve the set National targets of the country in these three areas in the near future.
- 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