The country earned half a billion US dollars in exports for the first six months this year. It is expected to pass the one billion dollar mark by the end of the year, said National Exporters Association Chairman Rohan Fernando.
`We had a shortfall in the export volume although there was a good demand for our products. There was a 30 - 40 percent shortfall in the volume exported compared to the demand. It is necessary to provide more marketing assistance from the Cess Fund to have our brand promoted in the international market,` he said.
The `Sri Lanka Rising` campaign will be launched next month to coincide with the Exporters` Award ceremony. A team of five people will work towards a complete package containing a message to our customers.
The team will disseminate the message to the world that `Sri Lanka Rising` will become a nation to look forward for development, peace and tranquillity, quality goods and services,` he said.
`Our efforts are supported by all export related segments. They are fully behind us. Basically, we are talking to our customers worldwide with quality products`, he said.
Where tea is concerned, it is expected that the demand will rise within the next few years.
The countries buying our tea, especially China and the Middle East went in to temporary recession. We need to be mindful to market our products to high-end users.
We appeal to the Government to extend support, as an increase in the export volume and value will benefit the country, he said.
The export sector is faced with different opportunities and challenges. Innovation and branding is the key for success.
We have to identify the new emerging markets. The new buying powers are in Asian countries including China, India, Russia, the Middle East and other Far Eastern countries.
We can depend more on these countries and need to focus more to increase our market share, he said.
The Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed with India and Pakistan to expand trade volumes should be looked at objectively. India has a huge market.
We can generate more value addition in Sri Lanka to gain the advantages of the FTAs. We need to build product capacity and it is necessary to provide facilities to encourage exporters. Agreements are a good start to work and improve, he said.
When a country faces turmoil for a long time, it needs time to recover. We have climbed a mountain and now a smooth road is ahead of us. We could be a model nation to the world, he said.