“Sri Lanka is keen in studying the different avenues available for promotion of Sri Lankan products in the Korean market with special emphasis on apparel and tea, either in the context of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) or some other mechanism,” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
So said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, when he met with Sihyung Lee, Deputy Minister for Trade of Republic of Korea on the sidelines of the 13th Ministerial Meeting of UNCTAD General Assembly Session at the Qatari National Convention Center, Doha.
As a preliminary step in this process, I would like to explore the possibility of leading a business delegation on the occasion of Sri Lanka’s participation in the EXPO 2012 Yoesu, Korea, scheduled to be held in Yeosu over a period of three months, commencing from 12th May – 12th August, 2012 this year, the Minister said.
Sri Lanka and South Korea are members of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) formerly known as Bangkok Agreement / which was signed in 1975 with the initiative of the ESCAP for promoting intra-regional trade through exchange of mutually agreed tariff concessions by member countries. Sri Lankan apparel products have been making inroads to the South Korean market under the APTA. However, the value of apparel exports has remained rather modest, averaging around US$ 6.5 Mn, states the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
According to the Department of Commerce, the overall value of Sri Lanka – South Korea trade currently stands at US $ 432 Mn. While Sri Lanka’s exports to South Korea were registered at US $ 45 Mn in year 2011, Sri Lanka’s imports from South Korea amounted to US $ 387 Mn.
Main export items from Sri Lanka to South Korea include coconut fibre, rubber products, articles of apparel clothing & accessories, used pneumatic tyres of rubber, Furniturewhile Sri Lanka primarily imports were iron and steel, boilers & machinery parts, knitted or crocheted fabrics, light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, man -made filaments, cotton woven fabrics, special purpose motor vehicles, electrical machinery and equipment and parts, plastics and articles, etc.
To promote bilateral trade further, Sri Lanka Export Development Board and the Korean Importers Association (KOIMA) signed an MOU on the side-lines of the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 in March this year.