Though some sectors of the economy have suffered terrible
as a result of the civil war particularly
the once promising tourist industry, Sri Lanka has managed
the opposition to the extent that the economy performed fairly
well during the last 5 years. This is shown in the average annual
growth of between 3 and 6% (4%
in 2002), while inflation and unemployment
have been reduced to 9.7 and 9.2% respectively.
Agriculture employs about 1-3rd of
the working population and directly contributes around 20%
of GDP. The key cash crops are rubber, tea and coconuts, providing
more than 75% of export earnings; rice is grown for
consumption inside the country. Fishing and forestry
are also meaningful.
The principal industrial sectors are mining (gemstones
and graphite being the major minerals), and manufacturing.
Iron ore, clay, limestone and uranium ore are also present in commercial
quantities. Hydroelectricity is the key source
of power, augmented by imported oil. Some main manufacturing industries
are cement and textiles, both of which are export earners.
In the service sector, the growth of tourism has
been stuck by the civil war and the tsunami; however, banking and
insurance have both been performing well. Since the mid-1990s the
government have followed the general market-oriented policies –
privatization and deregulation – while
searching to build up possible export-earning industries. This
strategy was a slow performer at first, but the government has
persevered and some benefits are beginning to materialize.
The current peace talks and on
again, off again ceasefire between government
and rebels has boosted investor confidence both at home and abroad,
and relieved Sri Lanka’s lack of investment capital.
The government is wishing to strengthen its progress by more deregulation,
fiscal reform, and privatization. The state still owns 90% of the
island’s land and the bulk of its utilities.
India, Japan, UK and the USA are Sri Lanka’s main trading
Business dress is
not formal. English is spoken in business circles.
Appointments are required and it is appreciate to arrive on time.
It is customary to exchange visiting cards on 1st introduction.
Office hours: Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 4.30 pm.
The following organisations can offer information and advice:
of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, Level Three,
53 Vauxhall Lane, Colombo 2 (telephone: (1) 230 4253; fax: (1) 230
4254/5; email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
of Commerce (Sri Lanka Tourist Hotels Association), 50 Navam
Mawatha, Colombo 2 (telephone: (1) 245 2183 or 242 1745 or 232 9143;
fax: (1) 243 7477 or 244 9352; email: email@example.com)
Conferences and Conventions
For more information, contact:
Sri Lanka Convention
Bureau, Hotel School Building, 4th Floor, 80 Galle Road,
Colombo 3 (telephone: (74) 713 500/1 or (1) 2440 002; fax: (1) 2472
985; email: firstname.lastname@example.org)