Trade & Investment
Opening of the Treasury bill and Treasury bond Market for Sri Lankan Diaspora and Migrant Workforce
Formal trade links between Sri Lanka and the UK was established when Sri Lanka was a British Colony. It was the British who introduced commercial plantations, first coffee and then tea and rubber to Sri Lanka. The British also developed Sri Lanka's service industry -
shipping, banking, insurance, produce brokering and transport systems to facilitate movement and export of plantation produce to international markets.
Over the years, heavy reliance on export of primary agricultural produce has reduced considerably thus diversifying export product base and markets.
Today, UK is the Sri Lanka's largest market after USA, accounting for 13% of Sri Lanka's exports.
Total trade turnover which reached US $ 1 Bn mark in 2004, has continued through 2007 registering a total trade turnover around US $ 1.2 Bn. Balance of trade which has been in Sri Lanka's favor since early 1980's has reached a record figure of nearly US $ 800 Mn in 2007, mainly due
to increased imports of apparel from Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's Major Exports to UK
UK market has absorbed 25% of total Sri Lankan apparel exports to the world in 2007, making it the second largest export market for apparel after the US (nearly 50%).
Articles of apparel and clothing accessories have figured prominently among Sri Lanka's exports to the UK market. Value of apparel exports has accounted for 78% of total imports into the UK from Sri Lanka in 2007.
Other important export items from Sri Lanka to the UK market which feature prominently include automatic data processing machines, sea food, bicycles, tea, rubber products, gems and jewellery, coir products, ceramics, fruits and vegetables and toys.
EU GSP Plus Scheme
The EU GSP Plus Scheme, offered to Sri Lanka by the European Union with effect from 1st July 2005 has paved way for over 90% of Sri Lanka's export products to the European Union at zero duty. Under this arrangement around 7,200 products inclusive of all categories of garments
from Sri Lanka are eligible to enter the EU markets provided such products meet the prescribed Rules of Origin Criteria.
These highly favourable concessions have been extended to Sri Lanka for ratifying, introducing legislation and implementation of a series of conventions on human rights, labour rights, good governance and environment related ones which are of interest to the EU.
More information relating to the EU GSP Plus Scheme can be obtained from :
http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/en/editorial/legal_notice.htm or www.doc.gov.lk
Sri Lanka's Major Imports from UK
Sri Lanka imports a wide variety of items from UK such as sugar, gold, man made staple fibbers, knitted or crocheted fabrics, paper & paper board, vehicle parts, iron or steel, coins, optical, photography and medical instruments, plastic articles, electrical machinery and
miscellaneous chemical products, medicaments. Sugar has surpassed gold as the largest import item from UK to Sri Lanka in 2005 & 2006.
The UK is one of Sri Lanka's major investors, ranking first in terms of direct foreign investment from the European Union. British companies have invested in diverse areas such as power generation, textiles, garments and accessories, electronic products, security printing,
tourism, infrastructure development, rubber based products, activated carbon, agriculture, logistics, insurance, food processing, computer software development and business process outsourcing.
Today Sri Lanka functions as the regional logistics hub for Marks & Spencer (M&S), the global apparel giant. M&S in association with Brandix Lanka opened the first ever "Green Apparel Factory" in the world in Sri Lanka in April 2008. It is anticipated that the redesigned factory
would reduce its carbon footprint by 75 % through a 45 % saving in energy consumption.
The concept of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) was introduced to Sri Lanka with the investment by P & O Worldwide, UK in the development of Colombo port - South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) with Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Government of Sri
Today Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the favourite and reliable destinations for UK companies for outsourcing of services in the fields of accounting, legal, medical and H R.
Some of the sectors identified for promotion in the UK in consultation with the Board of Investment in Sri Lanka are:
– Textile / apparel & accessories
– IT / IT services
– Rubber based products (Automotive components)
– Light engineering / metal working
– Electronics & components
– Tourism & recreation
– Agriculture / food processing
– Gems & jewellery
For more information on investment opportunities - www.boi.lk
"Eastern Revival" Development Programme
The Government of Sri Lanka has embarked on a comprehensive redevelopment programme steered by the President's Office and the Ministry of
Nation Building & Estate Infrastructure Development in order to revive the livelihoods of the people in the Eastern Province which was recently liberated from the LTTE.
In addition to community programmes this redevelopment programme includes many investment opportunities.
Infrastructure development projects such as roads, bridges, ports, reservoirs, irrigation projects, power plants, hospitals and schools.
Manufacturing - cement , fertilizer, ice manufacturing & cool room facilities
Tourism & recreation activities
Deep-sea fishing and fish-processing
Investors would be able to enjoy tax holidays up to 20 years, lands under a special concessionary scheme and other benefits.
For more information and to contact the "Eastern Revival" programme direct please visit