“I see no reason why the resolution should negatively impact the trade and investment relationship between Sri Lanka and those countries that supported the resolution. The UK, the rest of the EU, the US and indeed India will remain Sri Lanka’s major export markets for many years to come, and it is in the interests of Sri Lanka as well as those countries that an effective commercial relationship should continue,” Rankin said while addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Apparel Sourcing Association (SLASA).
He said trade relations between Sri Lanka and Britain were of vital importance to both countries seeing that Sri Lankan exports to the UK in 2011 totalled more than USD 1.2 billion and imports from the UK were worth some USD 245 million, making the UK Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner by volume. While half of the country’s exports worth US$2 billion out of a total of US$4 billion go to Europe. He added that there were more than 100 UK affiliated companies in Sri Lanka.
He said Sri Lanka could profit by regaining the GSP+ concession but said the Government should decide whether it wishes to meet the GSP requirements and re-apply for its benefits. Sri Lanka has improved by ten places from last year in the Global Competitiveness Index and approved the devaluation of the rupee which he said would support buyers and exporters. (Olindhi Jayasundere)