The policy of the government of Sri Lanka with
regard to exports highlights the need not only to increase the
volume of foreign exchange earnings but also to ensure equitable
economic development by ensuring that the income from enhanced
exports reaches the grassroots, Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of
Export Development and International Trade, said in his address
at the Partnership Summit organized by the Confederation of
Indian Industry in Gurgaon, India last week.
He was speaking as a principal panelist on the
subject of inclusive growth in the context of trade
Minister Peiris gave the audience, consisting of
leading personalities of the government of India and the highest
echelons of Indian Industry, a detailed account of the steps
taken by the government of Sri Lanka to develop the system of
export promotion villages as an instrument for achieving rural
The products identified for each export
promotion village depend on geographical factors and the
expertise available in each region. The basis of the system, the
Minister pointed out, is a partnership between the producers and
the private sector.
He described it as an outsourcing system, in
terms of which leading export companies, in a direct
relationship with the producers, make seed material and advice
available and buy back the product at an agreed price. This
eliminates the unconscionable profits made by a series of
middlemen and ensures that the farmers reap the full benefit of
Prof. Peiris referred to value addition, with
its accompanying potential for employment generation, as the
crucial component of Sri Lanka’s export promotion strategy.
He offered the participants a description of the
initiatives made available by the government of Sri Lanka for
investment in the less developed areas of the country - a policy
complemented by practical action in such areas as skills and
infrastructure development and poverty alleviation.
One of the co-penalists joining Prof. Peiris was
Kamal Nath, Indi’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise
Development and Investment Promotion, and Prof. Peiris led the
Sri Lanka delegation which included Mahen Dayananda, Chairman of
the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Prema Cooray, Secretary
General and CEO of the Chamber.
Participants in the session included Ferenc
Gyurcsan, Prime Minister of Hungary, Kapil Sibal, India’s
Minister of Science and Technology, Ms. Albanez de Escobar, Vice
President of El Salvador, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of
Community Development of Singapore, Lord Karen Bilimoria and
Lord Digby Jones of the United Kingdom, Simon Crean, Australia’s
Minister of Trade and Ms. Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade of