The UK is Sri Lanka’s second biggest trade partner by volume after India. 2012 saw Sri Lanka export £907m worth of goods to the UK, 13% higher than the previous year, while imports from the UK were worth £146m.
John Rankin, the British High Commissioner in Colombo said the trade balance was largely in favour of Sri Lanka and he would like to see that change.
Speaking at the AGM of the Council for Business with Britain (CBB), held at the British mission in Colombo, Rankin addressed several Sri Lankan and British guests and said he would like to see further growth between the two countries.
“Latest figures also show that the UK is within the top five investors in Sri Lanka. We have over 100 UK companies successfully operating here, and expanding their businesses as the Sri Lankan economy grows,
“We are also winning new business. In the past quarter, I have been delighted by major multi million pound contracts won by UK Companies in the construction sector and in the airline sector, for both air frames and aero engines. These contracts have amounted in total to over £3 billion worth of business. They are good for the UK economy and for Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Rankin.
“There are nonetheless challenges ahead. There has been some softening in Sri Lankan economic growth. Figures for the first quarter of this year show a slight decrease in Sri Lankan export to the UK. Growth in the UK also remains sluggish,
“But there are some encouraging signs. The UK economy grew in the second quarter of this year, driven by a strong performance in the services sector. Manufacturing and construction also expanded after a poor performance in Q1, providing further evidence that the UK economic recovery is beginning to take hold. A study from the British Chamber of Commerce also suggested that exporting activity is at its highest level since 2007. UK exports to Sri Lanka in January to April 2013, amounted to £53 million, an 11% increase compared to 12 months ago,” he said.