Italy- Sri Lanka Trade relations in brief
Italy and Sri Lanka have been long standing trading partners dating back to several centuries. The various coins and artifacts unearthed by archaeologists in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka provide clear evidence of such close relations. In the present day context Italy, as the 03rd largest economy in the Euro zone area and as a G8 country, has become very important market for Sri Lankan export products. In the year 2018 for Sri Lankan exports, Italy has been the 05th largest single buyer with a share of 4.85%, whereas Italy has been the 21st largest supplier for Sri Lanka with a share of 1.1% in the year 2017.
When it considered the bilateral trade between the two nations, as presented in Table 01 above, Sri Lanka’s exports to the Italian market for the last decade has been increasing from USD 198.5 million in 2005 to USD 577.68 million in 2018, but with a considerable drops in the years of 2015 and 2016. Bilateral trade balance regularly has been in favor of Sri Lanka. Along with GSP+ unilateral duty concessions which were granted to Sri Lanka by the European Union countries in the month of May, 2017, including Italian side (For EU- GSP+ Guidelines pl, access to web link http://www.intracen.org/EU-SRI-LANKA/Resources-and-materials), and the trade promotional works are under taken by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Italy, new trade flows are expected to create in the coming years having much optimistic to further increase trade and economic relations between Italy and Sri Lanka.
Existing and Potential Export Products from Sri Lanka to Italy
As shown in Table 02, clothing items from Sri Lanka to Italy have been the biggest exports, having a share of 81% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to Italy in 2017. Other main export products from Sri Lanka to Italy were solid and pneumatic tyres, tobacco products, tea, fish products etc. In terms of Sri Lanka’s clothing exports, Italy has been the 03rd largest buyer preceded respectively by the UK and the US in 2016. With regard to rubber products from Sri Lanka, Italy has been the 04th largest buyer in the same year preceded by Belgium, Germany and the US.
In the light of Table 03, there are further potential mainly in the apparel sector, petroleum products, rubber gloves etc. Other than the above products, in general, there are much potential for the products from Sri Lanka, i.e, fish, tea, spices, footwear, gems jewellery, electronic apparatus, boat sails, porcelain products, push bicycles etc, to the Italian market.
Trade Information Portal of Sri Lanka (TIPSL)
The TIPSL, the web link: https://www.srilankatradeportal.gov.lk, recently launched by the Sri Lankan authorities is the single stop point for all information relating to exports and imports of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka prepared this as per its WTO commitments under the Trade Facilitation Agreement now any traders are to get information about all the regulatory requirements that they need to fulfill in order to carry out their transactions. This website will also assist traders with finding out what is required by each of the relevant agency in relation to your specific businesses with Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka- Italy Business Council
Sri Lanka- Italy Business Council has inaugurated under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on 09th of October, 1998 with the objective to promote investment, trade and joint venture between Sri Lanka and Italy. The Sri Lanka – Italy Business Council continues to collaborate with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in achieving the objective of strengthening bilateral ties and promoting investment and joint venture partnerships. For further information, please visit the website of the Sri Lanka- Italy Business Council: http://www.srilankaitaly.com/committee.php . With a view to increase Italian investments in Sri Lanka and to expand business relations, an Italy– Sri Lanka Business Council was also established in 1997 under the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Rome however, it is not functioning at present.