Canada sees great potential and synergy in Sri Lanka to do business with Canadian businesses and Canadian import market. Canada’s aim is to build ties and extend businesses between both countries, says Ms. Shelley Whiting, the Canadian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka.
“The presence of TFO Canada in Colombo today speaks of the enormous economic progress underway in Sri Lanka right now and Sri Lanka’s potential as a trade partner for Canadian Companies, said High Commissioner Ms. Whiting.
The Canadian envoy made these observations while addressing the pioneering EDB session, ‘Exporting to Canada’ held at EDB on November 18, where more than 200 eager representatives from 100 Lankan firms, big and small, were present.
As part of its new internationalisation thrust, Canada, the second largest economy in North America, directly called for a fresh trade round with Sri Lanka, while Sri Lanka beamed with satisfaction on its success with yet another NAFTA member-and a large number of Lankan firms of all sizes packed EDB’s pioneering ‘Exporting to Canada’ session in Colombo.
“We are in a continuous process of internationalising-especially targeting emerging markets,” added the High Commissioner Ms. Shelley Whiting.
Fifty-four per cent of Lankan exports to Canada are apparel. Canada has established an important share in Sri Lanka’s market for wheat and other agricultural commodities. Eighty-three per cent of Canadian merchandise exports to Sri Lanka in 2013 consisted of wheat and lentils, noted the High Commissioner and added: “Canada and Sri Lanka share a broad-based bilateral relationship, with long history of development assistance to Sri Lanka beginning with Colombo Plan and continuing through today where Canadian technical assistance is focused on building sustainable economic growth-and all the locomotives that arrived under the Colombo Plan 60 years ago are still functioning today!
“I think these Canadian workhorses are in many ways are symbolic of Canada’s trade relationship – longstanding, reliable, quality products, somewhat a small scale, but in for the long haul. We have a growing and significant presence in Sri Lanka’s education, agriculture, IT, energy, and infrastructure. Just as Sri Lanka engages in a large export volume to India, our main partner is also in our neighbourhood-in our case, the US. However, as various people have acknowledged, we are not defined by that trading relationship alone. We are in a continuous process of internationalising – especially targeting emerging markets.
“Just this September, the Canadian government celebrated its most successful month for trading and investment in Canadian history. Like Sri Lanka, Canada too has entered into several Trade Agreements including EU, Korea, etc. Starting from North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada has signed nearly 24 FTAs with the world. We also have seen five-fold increase in Canada-India trade in the recent years,” observed the High Commissioner.
Sri Lanka’s bilateral trade with Canada has shown a continuously growing trend in the last few years. The $ 346 million trade in 2009 surged by 26.23% to cross $ 437 million in 2013.