SL to seek Trade Pack with UK after Brexit | Daily News

SL to seek Trade Pack with UK after Brexit

Minister Rishad Bathiudeen with WTO visiting Director Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh.


Sri Lanka is eager for opportunities unfolding in the Brexit aftermath-has enlisted the WTO to unravel new global opportunities for Lanka’s growing service exports.

“The new changes from Brexit give an opening for Sri Lanka to go for a one-to-one trade agreement with UK,” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said yesterday.

“The new changes bring opportunities for us. For example, it gives an opening for Sri Lanka to go for a one-to-one trade agreement with UK. I have no doubts that such a prospective agreement will enhance the global trade reform vision of the unity government.”

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration of Trade in Services Workshop by his Department of Commerce at BCIS, Colombo yesterday. The interactive awareness seminar is supported by World Trade Organisation. WTO Trade in Services Division Director Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh was present.

“We are witnessing historic developments taking place in global economic regions. We now know that the United Kingdom (UK) has voted to leave the European Union in Brexit. In this background, we need to look at our present trades with UK and European Union.”

“Almost one third of our total exports to the world went to European Union in 2015 at US $ 3 billion. This $3 Bn includes 2015 exports to UK as well, which is one billion dollars. In that 33% of our total exports to EU in 2015 went to United Kingdom. As for trade with UK, since 2010, our exports to UK have grown by 17% by 2015 to total at this US $ one billion and 80% of our exports to UK in 2015 were apparel, followed by footwear and Ceylon tea.”

“When we remove UK export numbers in 2015, the total exports to EU are still a significant US $ two billion. Even if the actual post Brexit separation will take place two years after activation of Article 50, we need to understand that Brexit is a new door that has opened but unlike many international other trade doors, we do not know where this (door) opening will lead to,” said Minister Bathiudeen.

The visiting Director Trade in Services Division of WTO Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, said that services in trade is a promising sector. “Without services, manufacturing cannot take place” he said.


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